Locals band together to organize party for Iraq war veterans

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Local veterans of the war in Iraq will be celebrated tonight in a 1940s-style victory party in Cape Girardeau.

The Iraq Victory Party Association is a grassroots effort to show appreciation to veterans who "did what we asked them to do," according to founder Brian Bollmann.

Although he understands there are disagreements about the war in Iraq, Bollmann said, he was dismayed to learn that there would not be parades to welcome the troops home.

"I did not like that at all," he said.

So Bollmann started asking for volunteers at his local tea party meetings and eventually formed the IVPA to separate the issue from politics.

"We just wanted to show a great time to the troops," Bollmann said.

More than 350 people are expected at The Plaza by Ray's for hors d'oeuvres, dancing and entertainment by the band Saxy Jazz and former "America's Got Talent" winner and Missouri House of Representatives hopeful Neal E. Boyd.

As part of the evening's events, the IVPA will remember Missouri servicemen and women who lost their lives in Iraq. The group will formally thank members of the military who served in Iraq as well as all attending veterans.

The IVPA will also read a formal resolution declaring victory in Iraq and drop balloons in celebration.

Bollmann said the IVPA expects to have in hand proclamations by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger, Jackson Mayor Barbara Lohr and the Cape Girardeau County Commission that express appreciation for the troops. Bollmann said Rep. Donna Lichtenegger also got the signatures of Rep. Wayne Wallingford, Rep. Billy Pat Wright and Rep. Ellen Brandon on a proclamation they sponsored Monday. In their formal statement, the city of Jackson and the Cape Girardeau County Commission declared March 20 to be "Iraqi Veterans Appreciation Day."

The IVPA will likely disband after the event, Bollmann said. He said he hopes someone will take up the cause of showing appreciation to soldiers returning from Afghanistan in the future.

Active military personnel and veterans along with a date are admitted free to the event. Nonmilitary individuals can buy tickets for $10. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated in support of wounded veterans.

Details on the event can be found at www.IraqVictoryParty.org or by calling organizers at 314-882-3327 or 225-3511.

salderman@semissourian.com

388-3648

Pertinent address:

3257 William St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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