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'It's just patriotic': Veterans of Foreign Wars pay it forward each year at the Georgia National Fair

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6126 return this year for their 33rd fair. They raise money for veterans just like themselves.

PERRY, Ga. — The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6126 return this year for their 33rd Georgia National Fair. They raise money for veterans just like themselves.

Fresh ribeye steak sandwiches are served hot and ready for the hundreds of thousands of people who make their way out each year.

Ronnie Bryant and Clayton Laughlin are two of the dedicated VFW members passing out plates.

"It's just patriotic," Bryant said.

"When you leave the service, you want to help others and you want to help others that have been there," Laughlin said.

When the fair first, began Bryant cooked outside with no cover.

"We started the very first national fair. The reason we started was because we didn't have any fundraiser to pay our bills here at the post," Bryant said.

But since then, they've been able to do more than support themselves.

"Every single penny goes back to the local community. Every Junior ROTC program in Houston County we have donated money to their organizations because we want to support the future," Laughlin said.

But it's not just Houston County -- they donate to organizations all over Central Georgia, like Warriors Ranch in Dublin, a group that uses equine therapy for veterans, and Comfort Farms in Milledgeville, which helps veterans suffering from PTSD.

Their VFW post has more than 90 volunteers, and about 40 of them help each year at the fair.

"Whether they're handing food out the window, whether they are working the cash register, or cooking steaks on the grill, you get to meet veterans coming through the window who say 'I served in' this, or 'I served in' this way. We can get them to become a member of the Veterans of Foreign War right there as they speak," Laughlin said.

In the future, they hope to expand on their operations at the fair with even more trailers.

"It allows the organization to spend less time setting up, spend less time on the administrative stuff. Just roll in, roll out, and enjoy the fair more," Laughlin said.

"When you come out and spend money at our booth, you're not supporting anybody that's working there, you're supporting veterans and other organizations," Bryant said.

They are ensuring that there will be much more patriotic fun to be had for years to come.

You can find the VFW trailer next to the clock tower on the southside of the fair. You don't have to be a veteran to volunteer. 

If you are interested in helping out, you can check out their Facebook page and contact them there.

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