Dozens of veterans attended the Sixth Annual Veteran Affairs Day Friday. VFW Post 6280 Commander and Legion Post 99 Adjutant Eric Surles said, “We’re here to serve our veterans. We have people here to help our veterans.”

One of those people doing just that was veteran’s representative Don Bequette with the Missouri Job Center. According to Bequette, his job is to help veterans overcome any obstacle in their way for gaining employment.

“Actually, right now, I’m working on helping a veteran with his resume,” he said.

Veteran Affairs Day is an annual outreach to Veterans of central rural Missouri in an attempt to provide easier access to VA services. It covers American Legion District 16 and VFW District 2, which include Camden, Cole, Crawford, Dent, Howell, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Phelps, Osage, Pulaski, Reynolds, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties. Representatives from the Department of Veteran Affairs included enrollment and claims processing specialists, as well as benefit advisors.

This event was sponsored by American Legion Post 99 and VFW Post 6280, 2522 Hwy 32 West, Salem.

Truman VA Hospital administered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for veterans and their spouses. Originally, they had planned to use the Johnson & Johnson; however, in light of recommendations by the FDA and CDC, they opted to go with the Pfizer vaccine. The first dose was administered Friday and the second dose will be 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 14 at the VFW Bingo Hall in the Legion/VFW building.

The Columbia Veteran Center had counselors and advisors on hand in their mobile unit. The Missouri Veterans Commission also had Service Officers at the event.

Members of the State House were present, including District 143 Representative Ron Copeland who has constituents in Oregon, Reynolds, Shannon and Dent counties, and District 142 Representative Bennie Cook, who has constituents in Texas, Howell, Phelps and Pulaski counties.

Invitations were sent to representatives and elected officials, including Congressman Jason Smith and U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley. From Smith’s office, District Casework Manager Jenni Riegel attended. From Hawley’s office, Chris Naylor with Constituent Services attended. Both Riegel and Naylor say that they always do there best to be available to help constituents with whatever they may need.

Call the American Legion Post 99/VFW Post 6280 at (573) 729-3710 for questions or to schedule private time with a counselor. You may also email