PDT Staff Writer
The 22nd Annual Nursing Home Veteran’s Christmas Party at the James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion has been scheduled for Dec. 12, at noon.
“This is a community event,” Jim Saddler of Post 23 said. “If it wasn’t for our community and a lot of businesses, clubs and organizations, we could not do what we do.”
The doors to Veterans Hall will open at 11 a.m. and lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. The lunch will consist of meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, green beans, slaw, fried apples, dessert, navy beans and cornbread. Entertainment will be provided by Steve “D.J. Doc” Ware.
Saddler said his wife, Jane Saddler has been busy organizing the event.
“Right now she has a record of 113 veterans and their nursing homes,” Saddler said. “When we first started, 22 years ago, we located 85. Then, a couple or three years ago it got up to a maximum of around 158-159 veterans. I think the decline at this point and time has been because of a tremendous effort to get home health care and foster homes and things like that.”
Saddler asked officials at the Chillicothe Veterans Hospital as to where some of those who have moved into regular homes are located, but because of confidentiality rules, that information could not be given out.
“I think there’s still a lot of veterans around that need some help, and most notably what went on here up in New Boston at Daymar College,” Saddler said. “I think that was a tremendous event and effort by (Daymar Admissions Representative) Mike (Bell) and his guys to put that program on. I want to applaud them for what they did.”
Last weekend Bell and other volunteers raised money during an event to help start a veterans homeless shelter in New Boston.
“We have a summer picnic, and the Christmas program, strictly designed to help men and women who are in nursing homes here in Scioto County, and in South Shore, Kentucky, get the things their caregivers say they need,” Saddler said. “If they need socks, or they need a pair of shoes or a hat, with the help of our community, we have, through the years, given a little bit of everything from fishing gear to a set of ping pong paddles. And one of the biggest requests is for big print bibles.”
Saddler said organizers were able to pick up some magnifying devices from the Area Agency on Aging to help veterans be able to read smaller print.
“We try to take care of the veterans, of course, but some of the more important people also are the folks who take care of veterans - the caregivers themselves,” Saddler said. “And because of the fine efforts of the bikers for charity who had a big fundraiser last fall, they were able to come up with quite a bit of money. And that not only helps us put on the program and buy presents, it also enables us to give appreciation to the caregivers themselves, and buy them a little present, to give them something to make them happy, something to show we care for what they do in taking care of our veterans.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.