Stella, MO displays a huge heart for our veterans

Stella, MO displays a huge heart for our veterans
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Storms this afternoon postponed a ceremony at Pittsburg State University’s Veterans Memorial, but they held off long enough for ones elsewhere.
Stella, Missouri is home to just 158 residents.
While that community is small, it has a huge heart for our veterans.
“It’s bigger than a lot of cities,” said veteran Duane Swatosh, Brothers With A Cause.
“It’s a wonderful thing that we have accomplished here through this memorial,” said Phyllis Cullers, longtime Stella resident.
The Veterans Memorial opened eight years ago and continues to grow each year.
This year’s Memorial Day ceremony brought the dedication of nine new flag poles donated by the Brothers With A Cause group.
A special tribute to local veterans like 93-year-old James Wilson, who met General Douglas MacArthur when serving in the Navy during World War II.
Wilson has a deep love for his country.
“I love this great country of mine and I’ll tell you what, let’s all strive to be better and do better and make it a better place in which to live,” he said.
The opportunity to meet veterans like Wilson had a strong impact on those currently serving.
“It’s so awesome to see the boots that I have to fill of those that came before me,” said Cassie Donahue, US Army. “It’s just such an incredibly humbling, heartfelt experience. It’s hard to put into words.”
Donahue wishes all veterans had the support that the Stella community gives.
“It’s just awesome,” she said. “I wish every single town in America could experience this.”
And many others agree.
“This is the prettiest one that I’ve ever participated in,” said state representative Bill Lant, District 159. “It certainly is.”
“It’s touched a spot in our heart,” Swatosh said.
The ceremony also served as a great reminder of what Memorial Day is truly about.
“It makes me think of this great land in which we live and all the blessings we’ve got,” Wilson said.
“Days like this make every difficult part of it so worth it, without even a shadow of a doubt,” Donahue said.
The Stella Veterans Memorial offers engraved bricks on its walkways for local residents and veterans.
Anyone interested in purchasing an engraved brick may visit the Stella Senior Citizens Center or mail a $35 payment to the Stella Veterans Memorial at PO Box 178, Stella, MO, 64867.