Easter Seals Midwest help to honor Veterans on Memorial Day at Mount Hope Cemetery

Joplin News First

Individuals with autism and developmental disabilities assist staff placing about 1,500 flags

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Memorial Day you will see the red, white and blue along North Rangeline as Mount Hope Cemetery place flags at the graves of Veterans in honor their service and sacrifice.

General Manager, Travis Boyd, tells us there are about 17,000 people interred at Mount Hope. And approximately 1,500 flags are placed for Veterans in honor of Memorial Day. Stating emphatically with a small staff, that they couldn’t do that alone. They are thankful for all volunteers that help.

Easter Seals Midwest, a non-profit group, place flags as a volunteer opportunity. Nearly 20 staff and clients took part Thursday afternoon walking the historic cemetery placing flags at the graves of those with military service.

Tracy Taylor, Clinical Manager tells us, “We have individuals with autism and developmental disabilities that love to volunteer and give back.

We pose a question to Tracy about her energetic volunteers. War, freedom or sacrifice. How do you relate those concepts to your clients, as they volunteer today?

“We do a lot of sharing about that, especially about the freedoms that they have. And we tie it back to their interests. We have a guy who loves video games. So we talk to him, our Veterans fought for us and fought for our freedoms. One of the freedoms that this individual has, is to play video games! So he literally shows up, to thank the Veterans for video games. For his right to be able to play.”

Tracy goes on to tell us more about Easter Seals Midwest. They thrive on community projects, finding volunteer opportunities for their clients. Mowing a yard, picking up sticks, grocery delivery, are among the many things they are able to do. These tasks are a big part of their day and they enjoy doing them.

Not only the clients get something out of volunteering, also the staff does too. Kayla Boyd, Community Supervisor takes a break from putting out the nearly 1,500 flags telling us, “Personally it means the world to me, putting out their flags and showing [Veteran’s families] how we support them.”

If you have a volunteer opportunity or know of one contact Easter Seals Midwest for more information on their abilities and scheduling. Call during normal business hours, 417-781-3616. Or you can email Tracy.Taylor@ESMW.org or Kayla.Boyd@ESMW.org.

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