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Celebration set for Veterans Appreciation Day

Karaoke, a hot dog eating contest, a dance competition and live entertainment is planned for Veterans Appreciation Day.

On Sept. 2, Socks For Heroes, a nonprofit organization, will be hosting the event to raise awareness for veterans residing in VA nursing homes throughout the state and in Monroe, Louisiana. They’ll also be collecting items to distribute to the veterans.

“This is our fourth year to do this,” said Katie Hall, a volunteer. “Last year, we distributed over 5,000 pairs of socks. We’re hoping to double our goal this year and reach 10,000.”

The organization started with two friends — Cathy Stroud, of Wesson, and Tanya Jenkins, of Louisiana. The two women, along with friends and family, founded the organization four years ago.

“My friend has a son who was a veteran in Iraq,” Stroud said. “My father-in-law was a Vietnam veteran. We just felt the need to do something, because we believe our veterans are heroes.”

The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brookhaven Exchange Club Park.

Musicians Betsy Berryhill and Skylar Laine will be performing. Other activities include bingo, door prizes, arts and crafts, fair rides and booths will also be open with food for sale.

Veterans with a military ID will receive a free meal, which includes a hamburger or hot dog and a drink.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness of veterans in need throughout the state.

“We’re asking everyone in the community to come out and enjoy a day at the park,” Stroud said. “We’re really pushing for socks and blankets this year. So please bring whatever you can to help out.”

There are two donation drop-off locations for items. In Brookhaven, items can be left inside Picket Fences on Union Street, and in Wesson at Another Time Another Place on Spring Street.

They are asking for donations such as socks, scarves, pens, games, gloves, blankets and note pads.

Stroud said they deliver donations to veterans homes in Kosciusko, Oxford, Collins, Jackson and Monroe, Louisiana.

“If we know of veterans in local nursing homes we try to help them out as well,” she said. “We’re very thankful for people giving.”

For more information contact socksforheroes@yahoo.com or go to their Facebook page, Socks For Heroes MS.