TEXARKANA, Ark. --The annual Wagons for Veterans fundraiser returned to the Four States Fairgrounds recently and raised more than $30,000.
"This year, it looks like we had at least 1,200 people show up, and they gave us more then we raised last year ($28,180)," said Greg Beck, president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 278, which hosted the event.
The final amount was more than $30,000, Beck said.
The 2020 fundraiser was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fundraiser drew 14 chuck wagons and three cooking teams, not only from Texas and Arkansas, but also from Missouri and Oklahoma.
Besides local and area residents, the fundraiser also attracted the support of military organizations, like the Red Diamond Camp Organization of the Sons of Confederate soldiers.
"We have about 60 members wearing wool uniforms today, like Civil War soldiers did back in the 1860s; sure feels warm on a cool day like today," said Red Diamond Camp member Sam Nix.
James Jester, a member of the Cedar Top Chuck Wagon Ministry and a resident of Lawrence Springs, Texas, said this was his first time he has brought his 1886 wagon to participate in the fundraiser.
"We are members of the Cowboys 4 Heroes, which is an organization that helps veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters and other public servants," Jester said.
"We basically heard of the Wagons for Veterans group because organizations like these just connect with one another. We've had this wagon for about six years now, along with a meat cleaver that actually goes back to 1836, and we're glad to be here."