Where did you serve and what did you do?
How are you #StillServing?
Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars offered a helping ham to the community last week.
Actually, it was more like 130 hams, sharing smiles 10 pounds at a time. Easter was made a little easier for area residents thanks to a donation through Smithfield Foods by way of the Gettysburg VFW Winston M. Toomey Post #8530.
The VFW handed out hams donated by the Smithfield company from Sioux Falls in addition to the food gifted through Feeding South Dakota. The food truck was in town on Thursday, March 23 and just under 100 people received boxes of the free food items. Everything from milk to fresh fruit and vegetables to canned goods were given away to those needing a little help this spring, and this time an extra item was added to help make the Easter meal more complete, with a free ham from Smithfield.
Butch Anderson, who lives at Whitlock Bay after retiring from the meat packing plant in Sioux Falls, lined up the free hams on behalf of the VFW. His connection to Smithfield runs deep — 45 years worth, and that’s just his time working for the plant. His grandfather came back from World War One and worked at what was then the John Morrell and Company Packing Plant in Sioux Falls. His father followed suit after serving in WWII. It was a natural move for Anderson, who worked there during high school and came back to the plant after serving his country in Viet Nam.
He got home from the war on a Wednesday, and despite having leave coming to him, was at work on Monday. “I didn’t really have a choice,” he said. “I had a wife and a five month old son who was born while I was overseas.” His family provided all the incentive he needed to get back to work. He took whatever shifts he could that would also allow him to take college classes, and worked his way up through every part of the meat packing business.
He was there when Morrell’s was purchased by the country’s largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, in 1995. Anderson was in management when he finished his career with the company and retired to the river west of Gettysburg.
With his move to the bay, he also became a lifetime member of the Gettysburg VFW. The community has benefited through his volunteer service, and that was abundantly true last week when he used his connections at Smithfield to help feed many through the Gettysburg food distribution.
Smithfield, who employs around 3,700 people at their Sioux Falls plant, donates a large number of hams to Feeding South Dakota each year, but that meat doesn’t normally make it all the way to Gettysburg. “I talked to people at the company and was told that through the VFW we could qualify to get hams for the giveaway,” Anderson said, so he and friend Lloyd Freidel made the trip to Sioux Falls. “When we got there, they had two pallets loaded with hams for us.” The pickup wouldn’t hold that many, but the men were able to bring back around 130 of the nearly 10 pound hams to share throughout the community. The local senior center also benefited by the ham distribution.
Why do you do it?
Because it’s just what what we as veteran do.