It was a unique gathering on Saturday, with a variety of groups hosting informational and fundraising booths, and a special ceremony with a flag raising as well, all in downtown Oakdale.
Duke Cooper of American Veterans First said the ceremony was in honor of the late Dan Donnelly, with dedication of a new flagpole and a plaque at the Oakdale Feed and Seed. Congressman Jeff Denham appeared briefly to help raise the flag on the new flagpole, and the commemorative plaque at the base of the flagpole recognized Donnelly for his service. The plaque and flagpole were installed by American Veterans First.
Donnelly served in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1945 and as a pilot flew missions in the South Pacific during World War II. When he came home to Oakdale, he started the Oakdale Airport – Donnelly Field – in 1946, and then started Oakdale Feed and Seed in 1950.
A barbecue lunch was held as a fundraiser and much of the money will go to help veterans in need of services. The Pets for Vets program, which pairs shelter pets with veterans, was on hand as well. Helping out there was Jack Locke of Turlock, the 10-year-old joining with his brother to sell lemonade to raise money for veterans.
“We cooked 125 burgers, the boys raised $450 off their lemonade stand, it was just perfect,” said Cooper.