As Memorial Day approaches, we wanted to highlight an employee, Theresa Sanders, the construction center administrator at the Charleston, Missouri office, for her contributions that support local veterans.
Theresa is secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary as well as secretary and treasurer of the American Legion Riders group. The Ladies Auxiliary serves to support the American Legion and their members, which are all veterans and families. Her local legion is the Henry Meldrum Post 114 in Sikeston, Missouri.
Her local auxiliary unit gives back to veterans in nine local nursing homes, by ensuring they have gifts for every holiday, and also expands their outreach efforts to the Cape Girardeau Veterans Home and John J. Pershing Veterans Hospital in Poplar Bluff. They host an annual Thanksgiving dinner that over 700 people attend, whether in-person or delivered to their home.
But by far, the largest project the group has focused on has been raising funds for the Missouri Veteran Cemetery in Bloomfield. The cemetery is located on 65 acres and shares a common entry way with the historical Stars and Stripes military newspaper museum. Facilities include an administration building with a reception area and public restrooms. The committal shelter has two attached columbarium walls which contain 800 niches for the interment of cremains if desired.
The committal shelter, columbarium wall and flag pole area form a plaza for the conduct of other formal memorial ceremonies. A small lake containing a red, white and blue lit fountain and encircled by a walking path forms the south end of the cemetery. Once an hour, a random song played by an on-site carillon tower echoes throughout the rolling grounds.
“We took a tour of the cemetery and we fell in love with it. It was beautiful, such a calming and tranquil place,” said Theresa. “These so deserving veterans need a place like this for their final resting place and the families of these veterans have a beautiful place to visit their loved ones. Our veterans deserve the best we can give them as they have given so much for us.”
As the cemetery is state-funded and not federally-funded, any beautification projects must be paid for by donations. When the bell/tower system used for funerals went down a few years ago, donations were raised to get it working again. In addition, the previous committal shelter where funerals were held was simply an open pavilion. During inclement weather, it wasn’t a very comforting place for attendees. Again, donations were raised by the auxiliary to be able to enclose the shelter and install a heating and air conditioning unit. In total, the group has raised over $110,000 in the past six years for the cemetery!
“Any beautification and upkeep to the cemetery are only done because of donations from businesses, communities, and organizations such as ours that care about our veterans,” said Theresa.
A wide variety of fundraisers are held year-round to support the Ladies Auxiliary projects, such as bake sales, breakfasts, hosting Bingo every Friday night, an annual poker run and cook-off competition, live auctions, and a poppy program that directly benefits the veterans in nursing homes.
Also sharing an entryway with the cemetery is the National Stars and Stripes Museum and Library, which was built by Morton Buildings in 1998 and then added on to in 2001. Items that are housed in the 7500 square-foot museum have all been donated from businesses and individuals, with exhibits that span from the Civil War to the War in Iraq.
Theresa has been a positive influence on her co-workers at the Charleston, Missouri Morton sales office.
“Everyone here at the local Morton office has contributed in some fashion to this cause, from purchasing raffle tickets, judging the cook-off or wing wars, donating items for the auction, and even attending the events,” said Theresa.
Morton Buildings Inc. thanks all veterans, past and present, for their service. About 5% of the total employee-owners at Morton self-identify as a veteran. In addition, our entry level crew position is eligible to participate in the GI Bill On-the-Job Training program. For more information, please visit our careers page.
To learn more about the Henry Meldrum Post 114 and view upcoming events, please follow them on Facebook.