WASHINGTON, Mo. – VFW Post 2661 out of Washington, Missouri gives back to U.S. soldiers every holiday season by sending them care packages. After not being able to send the packages last year due to COVID-19, veteran and VFW Post Commander Bob Dzurick says they are back on in 2021.
For six years, VFW Post 2661 has handed out poppies around their community, and each recipient is encouraged to make a donation to the “Serve the Troops” fund. The fund also helps support veterans who are currently homeless or in need of help with their rent, utilities and vehicle fuel. All proceeds go towards supporting veterans and making care packages so they are no cost to the soldiers.
Dzurick told The Heartlander that the care packages carry a variety of things including beef jerky, sunflower seeds, candy, chewing gum, deodorant, tooth paste, tooth brushes, chapstick and sunscreen.
If the Post knows that a package is going to a male, they will include Sports Illustrated magazines in their packages in hopes of piquing their interest. If a package is going to a female, they will send female hygiene products along with magazines that a woman might enjoy.
Dzurick said he also ensures that each care package sent to the soldiers contains a nice letter.
“In that letter, I thank them right off the bat for their service to our country and let them know that they aren’t forgotten over there and that we are consistently praying for their safe return,” said Dzurick. “It’s our way of showing appreciation to the guys and gals that signed that blank check to their country and are in places that most of us will never see or hear about unless it’s on the news.”
When local troops return from overseas, Dzurick invites and strongly encourages them to join the VFW’s American Legion to experience a community of veterans enjoying life after service.
“People recognize this building, you can’t miss it. It’s probably one of the tallest buildings in town outside of the bank and church. At Christmas time it is decorated very nicely and we have a lot of functions. It’s more than just sitting around getting drunk and telling war stories. We’ve also got Bingo,” Dzurick said with a chuckle.
The Post is currently collecting deer hides from local hunters so they can be cut and sewn into gloves to protect the hands of veterans who are in wheelchairs. The VFW asks for any donated hides to be put into trash bags and kept cool or frozen before dropping them off. Drop-off locations are the Washington Elks Lodge, Harvey’s Body Shop in Hermann, VFW Post 6133 in Owensville and Maverick’s Bar & Grill in Marthasville.
Washington’s VFW building is a part of the Historical Society and is located at 813 South Jefferson.