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A taste of home: Seyfrit awarded for efforts for veterans

Richmond Register - 5/19/2024

May 17—Battle of Richmond Curator Phillip Seyfrit has launched many projects over the years, collecting wrapping paper, Lifesavers candies, and even Christmas to be disbursed to veterans who are serving overseas.

This is why he was awarded the Barbara Denson Memorial Volunteer Award for his efforts by Military Missions, a volunteer-led organization in Lexington that has benefitted from Seyfrit's efforts.

According to Board Member Mark Roland, Military Missions has developed a fairly large footprint since starting almost 20 years ago.

The founder, Beth Pennington, began by supporting her son and 16 other Marines. At the organization's pre-COVID-19 height, it sent out 8,400 care packages.

"Our goal is to just send those young men and women a taste of home because they're not all necessarily in ideal locations in ideal environments and situations. It's just our way of continuing to say a thank you for your service," Roland explained.

This year, Seyfrit mobilized volunteers to collect 66,000 Lifesavers candies that will be sent to military members serving overseas. This is his fourth year executing this endeavor.

According to Board Member Mark Roland, Seyfrit also collected 300 rolls of wrapping paper to assist the organization in wrapping items in care packages for Christmas.

"We had trouble finding a place to store it all," he recalled.

The award Seyfrit received was named after Barbara Denson, who was the mother of the organization's founder, Beth Pennington.

"Barbara Denson was a stalwart regular, always at Military Missions in the beginning, and instrumental in its founding, and she passed away two years ago," explained Roland.

So, the organization has awarded standout volunteers with her namesake award for the last two years.

"Philip here at the museum epitomizes that volunteer spirit and that volunteerism," remarked Roland.

Seyfrit humbly said, "Although this is an honor, this really goes out to the people who took time and effort to donate the lifesavers the Christmas cards, and the wrapping paper, the people who see the value of what we do here to help our military of today."

He also recalled a recent visitor from Iowa, a veteran who had served abroad. Seyfrit noted that she had gotten "misty-eyed" upon seeing volunteers counting the Lifesavers, as she recalled receiving them in care packages when she was abroad.

"So this kind of came full circle for her that people at home still care about the hundreds of thousands of people serving all of us," Seyfrit said. "And things can be a little tedious right now. And we need to support them all the best way we can. And this is an easy way to do it, anybody can do it."

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