Local radio station KCMQ hosted its annual Man Show at the Parkade Center on March 9. Billed as “the manliest event of the year,” it included exhibitions from various local businesses, raffles and both a wing-eating and beard competition. Local band Open Road played a set of classic rock songs for the festival, while Pickleman’s and Nauser Beverages offered free samples for the show.
While most of the exhibits consisted of businesses showcasing their product, one exhibit offered a bit of entertainment for a good cause.
Central Missouri Honor Flight, a local charity that sends military veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial of their respective war, hosted a car smash, giving people the chance to destroy an old Buick Century with sledgehammers while supporting their local veteran community through optional donations.
Ron Sage, an honor flight volunteer working at the car smash, explained the effect that his honor flight had on him.
“I was in the army in Vietnam,” Sage said. “I went over [to D.C.] in 2009 and it really was a great experience.”
The honor flight raises money through community events like these, as well as its annual telethon held every fall in the Courtyard by Marriott Columbia.
By midday, all of the sledgehammers had been broken, but the car still stood partially intact. Zach Reynolds, a local Columbia Parks and Recreation worker, ran to Menards to pick up some more sledgehammers so that the fundraiser could continue. For Reynolds, supporting the honor flight was a no-brainer.
“I think the work they’re doing for our veterans is great,” Reynolds said. “This is the first time I’ve been able to make it out [to the man show]. I’m having a great time.”
While Reynolds declined to be reimbursed for the hammers, one honor flight volunteer said he’d send Reynolds’ place of work a thank you note.
Jan Bell, Central Missouri Honor Flight’s volunteer coordinator, says that the honor flight can be a life-changing experience for both veterans and their families.
“My father was in Vietnam,” Bell said. “I went over with him [on his honor flight] and he started telling me these stories that he’d never said before. I learned more from that trip about the war than I ever did in school.”
Bell finds that honor flight creates a loyal and supportive community for local veterans.
“Every flight we get people who come out to see the veterans depart and return,” Bell said. “Usually the people who go out on the trip come back and want to start volunteering. It really is a family.”
Edited by Janae McKenzie | firstname.lastname@example.org