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Farmington American Legion Post 416 honors volunteers

Every year, the members of American Legion Post 416 and its Ladies Auxiliary in Farmington bring Christmas cheer to children in the Head Start program.

Monday night, they honored the donors who help the Post make each year’s Christmas Party a special occasion.

“They help us every year,” Post Commander John Reed said. “Tonight we want to thank them.”

After dinner and a talk by nurse Carolyn Penuel about strokes and warning signs, Reed presented framed certificates of appreciation to Gabriele Gering-Libby of McDonald’s of Farmington, Mike Libby of Post 416 and Ben Braun of Prairie Farms. Other honorees could not attend Monday night’s dinner meeting, but also have the American Legion’s thanks. Donors include Dan Combs of Little Caesar’s, who donates pizzas for the party, and Joe Reed, who buys a present for each child at the party. In addition, members of the American Legion each choose two names and buy each of those children a present, Commander Reed said.

McDonald’s provides orange drinks and Prairie Farms brings ice cream and milk. John Reed usually steps in for Santa, but Libby took his place after Reed had a stroke last fall.

The American Legion has sponsored the Head Start Christmas parties for five years, Reed explained. This year, about 40 children attended.

Acting Commander Ken Kelly said that giving back to the community was one of the reasons the American Legion was formed. The Christmas party is just one of the Post’s community activities, but it clearly is one of Reed’s favorites.

“We just want to be sure the kids have a good time,” he said. “I tell you, that is the greatest reward.”

Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at

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