COLUMBUS - As citizens of the United States of America, we owe a lot to those who have fought to defend this nation and protect our freedoms. One local auto dealership joined in a multi-state effort to thank our local veterans and active service members with a free lunch and some well-earned recognition.

Mike Carpino Ford, in Columbus, kicked off the 4-State Hero Appreciation Tour on Aug. 3, with free hotdogs, chips, and drink served to veterans and active service members. The tour is being sponsored by the Midwest Ford Dealers, and will continue throughout the next few months at various Ford dealerships in the area.

Upcoming stops on the tour:

August 10 Nevada FLM Auto Mall Nevada, MO

August 17 Quality Motors Independence, KS

August 24 Frank Fletcher Ford Lincoln Joplin, MO

August 31 Briggs Fort Scott, KS

September 7 Jay Hatfield Ford Sarcoxie, MO

September 14 Merle Kelly Ford Chanute, KS

September 21 Fletcher Ford Border Store Jane, MO

September 28 Twin Motors Ford Iola, KS

October 5 Carthage Ford Carthage, MO

October 12 Pittsburg Ford Pittsburg, KS

October 19 Green County Ford Parsons, KS