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Cooties come to City Commissioners' meeting

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - The commander of Pup Tent Two of the Military Order of the Cootie in Sallisaw told the city commissioners Monday night that his group's mission is to entertain and bring joy to the war heroes who will soon be living at the Veterans Center currently under construction in the city.

Stidd, with Cootie Auxiliary president Bobbi Parris by his side, said the nonprofit MOC is affiliated with VFW Post 4518 in Sallisaw and will provide support and humor for all of their “brothers and sisters.”

Cooties, Stidd says, “try to make fun of everything. That's what we're all about.”

Stidd, a resident of Sallisaw, told the commissioners he fought to get the Veterans Center built here and to create a pup tent for quite some time, and with the support of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, his dreams came true. “I'm very proud of that,” he said.

The MOC will have a food truck at the Veterans Center construction site, and money raised will go toward the needs of veterans' families when they are at the Sallisaw center, Stidd said.

The MOC Auxiliary's main concern, Parris said, is to support the hospital, gathering necessary equipment and serving as an honor society to the VFW. She affectionately calls the Cooties her “bunch of bed bugs.”

“We have to have women to keep (the men) on track,” she said with a laugh. Parris noted that the MOC and the Auxiliary are planning “lots” of fundraisers, including bingo parties, karaoke and more. All the money raised goes back to veterans, the care centers and their families, she said. “Our job is to entertain. We want to keep our veterans smiling and take care of their families and their caregivers,” she said.

“When you see us out and about, support us. We're here to help support the community any way we can,” Parris said. “Our motto is to 'Keep 'em Smiling in Beds of White.' ”

The Military Order of the Cootie of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization. Known as “The Honor Degree of the VFW,” its members are made up of the officers and leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

Founded in New York City on Sept. 17, 1920, the MOC is based on the principles of good humor and fun. For the past 100 years, the Cooties have provided social and entertainment programs to members of the VFW as an ancillary unit within the organization. Since 1923, its first year as part of the VFW, the Cooties have worked hard to further the aims of the VFW while adding a bit of military humor to the serious work of its parent organization.

After the MOC presentation, the commissioners tackled the agenda for their regular July meeting.

The panel unanimously approved a resolution transferring the deed to a five-acre subdivision on the south side of Sallisaw from the city to Brian Stites. The commissioners also agreed to declare the property at 514 W. Argyle Ave. as surplus and directed city staff to solicit sealed bids to purchase that property.

The commissioners approved an agreement between the City of Sallisaw and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for a federal aid railroad project on the Kansas City Southern Railway grade crossing at West Port Arthur Place. The project will install crossing arms on the only crossing in Sallisaw currently without them. The city and ODOT will match funds in the amount of $36,290 to finance the project.

The commissioners also approved the purchase of a CIMLINE Durapatcher Pothole Patch Skid Unit in an amount not to exceed $106,000 from JO-CO Equipment of Broken Arrow. The equipment will be put on a cab and chassis already owned by the city. Commissioners also agreed to the purchase of a John Deere 50G compact excavator from Stribling Equipment Co. of Fort Smith, Ark., in the amount of $67,000.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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