Veterans Meet at Capitol

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COLUMBIA - Members from many Missouri veterans groups across the state gathered at the state Capitol in Jefferson City Wednesday morning.

Hundreds of veterans packed the rotunda as part of an effort to raise awareness about funding for veterans' programs. The Missouri Association of Veterans Organization hopes lawmakers will find a dedicated funding source for the Missouri Veterans Commission Captial Improvement Trust Fund. If no new funding is allocated by 2013, money that goes to fund veterans' homes and cemeteries in Missouri will run out. 

Susan Eveland is a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. Her father, a war veteran, lives in a veterans home in Warrensberg. She said if funding is cut and that veterans' home closes, her father won't have any place to go. Unable to care for him herself, Eveland said she'll have to find another home, which she believes, will be hard to match the quality of the facility and care her father receives now. Adding to the already difficult situation Eveland faces, her father is an Alzheimer's patient, and moving him to a new location at 91 years old would be extremely difficult on him, she said.

Eveland attended the gathering at the Capitol and believes strength in numbers and word of mouth are essential to urge lawmakers to take action. She spoke to both of her representatives Wednesday afternoon after making the more than three hour drive to Jefferson City from Kearney. Armed with her father's photograph and a proposal to her legislators, Eveland hoped to make an impression, and a request they couldn't refuse.

T.J. Berry is Eveland's House representative. After speaking with her today, Berry said he has no doubt his fellow lawmakers will find a way to fund veterans' homes and cemeteries. He said it's something they can do to help the people who fought for their freedom.

Berry said if any action is taken, it won't be until January when the Missouri legislature is back in session.