Poplar Bluff, MO named Veteran Friendly Community

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Approaching Veterans Day this weekend, a Heartland city is recognized as a great place for veterans to live, and it’s only the second city in Missouri to get the accolade.

“Poplar Bluff gave me a fresh start,” said John Cornelius, an Iraqi Freedom Veteran. “I moved here in 2011, and I had about 50 bucks in my pocket. And I’ve just had a lot of great opportunities because of people willing to take a chance on a veteran.”

Cornelius said Poplar Bluff is one of the most veteran friendly communities he’s lived in.

“There’s flags flying around. There’s veterans everywhere you go," said Cornelius. “You see the hats and the bracelets. It’s always been pretty veteran friendly.”

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs named Poplar Bluff a veterans friendly community, the second in Missouri behind St. Louis.

“A town our size, it’s just a great privilege to be able to do that," said Mark Massingham, Poplar Bluff City Manager. “I think it shows that the community definitely supports its veterans and what they’ve done for this country.”

Ed De Garis, a member of the committee that made this recognition possible, said Poplar Bluff had to meet certain criteria, and the process took about a year.

“Seeing the love that the community has for veterans and the outpour of trying to help people in need, I couldn’t be more proud of our town,” said Ed De Garis, Southeast Community Veterans Engagement Board Member.

“It just makes it feel more like home to know that the community is looking out for us and involved and wanting to support us and help us reintegrate,” said De Garis.

And with Sunday being Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Cornelius said today’s timing is even better.

“I think it’s just the icing on the cake," said Cornelius. “The military has been one of the cornerstones of our country, and it will continue to be that well into the future.”

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