By David Knopf, News editor
Richmond Sonic manager Chris Arnett was running a bit late for work Tuesday, but the six men waiting for him didn’t mind.
Members of the two Ray County veterans’ organizations visited the restaurant to thank Arnett and the Sonic owners for their support of American Legion Post 232 and Veterans of Foreign War Post 4398.
Earlier, Legion Commander Don Loucks, VFW Commander Larry Brune and fellow veterans Millard Yoakum, Elmer Snelling, Jim Richardson and Dean Richards stopped at Swafford Ford to do the same for Gary and Rob Swafford.
Both businesses were presented with Award of Merit plaques for their dependable generosity on behalf of veterans’ activities in the county.
“They buy tickets for our raffles, and when we need something, they’re there to help us,” said Loucks. “All that little stuff helps when we run our functions.”
Loucks was referring to the cups, plastic utensils, pepper and salt, and other items that Sonic supplies for breakfasts and other functions at the veterans’ building on Clark Street.
Caught off guard and surprised, Arnett was visibly moved by the recognition.
“It’s something you have to do if you can help,” he said. “My dad was a veteran, my granddad was a veteran.”
While he himself wasn’t in the service, it was clear he felt supporting the veterans’ groups was a way to thank those who had served and help the community at the same time.
Swaffords also purchases raffle tickets and makes donations, but Loucks said its generosity often extends to helping the veterans be seen at parade time.
“Whenever we need a donation of a vehicle for a parade, Swafford Ford has helped us out,” Louck said.
“It’s the least we can do,” Rob Swafford said. “We will continue the service. We will do this for anyone who has served this county or will in the future.”
Loucks said Swafford Ford and Sonic aren’t the only businesses that help the veterans do their work. But they have stood out in recent time, both for their generosity and consistent giving.
“These two have been the most active the last few years,” he said. “We thank all the businesses for their help.”
Loucks said the support of businesses and individual residents is essential to the vets continuing their programs of community assistance.
Someone is at the veterans’ building from 8 to 10 a.m. Monday to Saturday for those wanting to contribute. The phone number is 776-8056.
Loucks said one of the most popular forms of service is the combined Legion/VFW loan program for medical equipment.
“We have hosptial beds, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, shower chairs, potties,” he said. “If someone donates it to us, we’ll lend it out to anyone, a resident or anyone else who needs it.”
Loucks said member Dean Richards supervises the program and maintains the equipment.
Service Officer Jim Rippy is at the veterans’ building from 9 to 10 a.m. every Thursdayto help vets apply for service-related benefits.