Pete Snider, a lifelong Dexter resident who now resides at the Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau, was one of the most familiar faces at the local Senior Center for many years, having begun his volunteerism to the center shortly after the program got on its feet.
"Pete was one of the most dedicated servants to the center," says longtime friend and fellow veteran Jim Long, Sr., also of Dexter. "There came the time when Pete should have been the one having meals delivered to him, but instead he was still out there making sure everyone who needed a hot noon meal got one."
Recognizing that dedication and spirit to give back to the community, Long presented the award this week to Senior Center Director Dena Rawson on behalf of his own family of veterans. The Long family is no stranger to the military service.
Jim Long, Sr. currently serves as maintenance supervisor at Bloomfield's State Veterans Cemetery. He is a U.S. Navy veteran himself. His son, Jim Long, Jr., is a Lt. Col. (Ret.) with the U.S. Air Force. Two granddaughters, both the daughters of Jim Jr. and his late wife, Liz, are now career military servicewomen. Following in her grandfather's footsteps, Sara flies Seahawk Helicopters in the U.S. Navy. Her sister, Rachel, is a navigator on B-52 Stratofortress Aircraft with the U.S. Air Force.
A grandson, Luke Snider, is a chemical specialist with the U.S. Air Force and has completed three tours to Iraq working in that capacity. He was also deployed to Japan following the recent tsunami to test for chemicals and radiation exposure.
Recognizing the need for further funding to keep the local Meals on Wheels program up and running, Long posed a challenge this week to other veterans or families of veterans, as well as civic and veterans' organizations.
"I'd like to see others help keep this very vital program for our seniors going through further donations," he said. "They might wish to do so in the name of someone who is dear to them as Pete Snider still is to the Long family."
"This is just a personal way of thanking Pete Snider," said Long, making the donation, "for the many years of volunteerism and service he so willingly gave to his community."