THUMBS UP to the members of Yank Tipton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 474 in Muskogee who ordered and donated toiletry bags for veterans staying in the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center.

Each package costs about $5 and features a razor, emery board, a bar of soap, small tube of toothpaste, comb, packets of shaving cream and tubes of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and hand soap.

Hospital Voluntary Services Specialist Shantel McJunkins said the toiletries are useful. More importantly, "they just know that someone else cares,” McJunkins said.

Post Commander Dennis Morton said post members donated the first 25 packages to the VA last week. They initially bought 50 and have another 100 ordered.

Post 474 members also put a post business card and membership application into each bag.

“We felt it would be an opportunity for us to do some recruiting as well as help out,” he said.

According to the VFW website, membership is open to veterans who served honorably “in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters.”

Morton said veterans who did not serve in foreign wars can be associate members with voting rights. 

We can't thank our veterans enough.

• • • 

THUMBS UP to the Oklahoma School for the Blind and Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services for building a new gymnasium and tornado shelter — both were sorely needed. 

High School Principal Lynn Cragg said the gym had been dreamed of and thought about for a long time. She shared some school history to help people “fully understand the importance of this gym and the dedication that happened.”

Cragg said the 1945 tornado blew roofs off campus buildings and collapsed steel girders that supported the gymnasium roof. The storm claimed the lives of three OSB students: Delores Hicks, 14; Alda Stephens, 15; and Juanita Moss, 15. The girls will be memorialized on a plaque by the safe room.

The dedication also included a bench in memory of former OSB Superintendent Larry Hawkins, who died in 2019.

Former DRS Director Noel Taylor said Hawkins always had “a great vision for the students and their success.”

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