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Martinsburg veterans throw party for the disabled

December 20, 1999

VFW party for disabledBy DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The local Veterans of Foreign Wars post does something special for Martinsburg children every year, but people who are mentally and physically handicapped are often left out, said VFW member Paul Arvin.

This year, Arvin and his friends at VFW Post 896 in Martinsburg set out to change that.

They went to businesses in town and collected money and merchandise to throw a big Christmas party for the disabled.

"It didn't cost the post a dime. We raised all the money ourselves" said Arvin.

VFW members raised more than $1,000, which helped pay for hamburgers, hot dogs, cupcakes, oranges and soda for the party. Businesses donated gifts, including clothing, toys and games.

About 155 guests, many of whom live in group homes in the Martinsburg area, turned out for the party at a community room in the Berkeley Plaza Monday afternoon.

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"It's pretty good. I got my stomach filled," said John Hall, who lives in a group home operated by Eastridge Health Systems.

"Everybody seemed warm and nice," said Philip Ambrose, who lives in Mountainside Manor.

After eating, those at the party danced to music booming from a disc jockey's table.

The event went so well, Arvin said he is thinking about having a summer picnic on the Opequon Creek this summer for people with disabilities.

The time of year the gathering is held doesn't matter to the guests, he said. "They just want love."

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