Members of Welcome Home Veterans, Columbia, were honored Wednesday evening with a Christmas dinner and gifts at the Cooper County Public Health Center on Klinton Dr.

Hostess Linda Claas, with the aid of volunteers and community donations, arranged for the dinner which was catered by 87 Diner. Dale Willis and Gary Blackmore assisted with transportation. Music was provided by Rev. Norlita Kaul, Pat Humphrey, and Susan Felton of Boonville’s First Presbyterian Church.

Following a holiday feast of turkey and ham with side dishes and dessert, guest speaker Larry D. Kay, Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, talked about the Veterans Commission and the work they do. Kay said every employee will tell you they work for the veterans.

As of June 30, 2016, there were 21,368,156 veterans in the US, 482,094 of them in Missouri. There are 1,350 veterans in the seven Veterans Homes in Mo. with at least 2,000 on a waiting list. Other services provided by the Veterans Commission include six Veterans Cemeteries and 44 Veterans Service Officers.

Music and gifts followed. Claas said this is her sixth year of honoring Veterans this way and many of her volunteers have helped in the past. There is no funding in place for this annual event, Claas relies solely on donations and volunteers. Anyone wishing to make a donation can come by A Touch of Claas Salon & Spa at 807 Main Street in Boonville or call 660-882-2600 for more information.