By: Pat Smith Department Adjutant – Article Published in Dec 2014
As they say in the commercials, “The Holiday season has arrived’ and with it comes the opportunity to spend all of your money on our fancy toys and gifts. While this season is a festive one for most Americans we least not forget those that will be unable to buy those gifts for their loved ones. We can’t forget those thousands and thousands of veterans that are living on the streets, in their cars or best yet a homeless shelter. There are far too many homeless veterans compared to the rest of the population.
How about those veterans that are deployed in far off lands. They can communicate via fabulous electronic means of communication but it isn’t the same as being next to your family and sharing the holiday joys with them.
Then there are the elderly veterans that can’t travel or visit malls. They reside in nursing facilities and depend on the nursing staff to provide holiday joy and cheer. In many cases their families have forgot about them. They have their own families to take care of and Grandma and Grandpa are just an afterthought.
This is not to paint a dismal picture of the holiday season. This is to remind you why you belong to The American Legion. We are energetically engaged in providing that holiday spirit to all of the above. Many of our American Legion posts will assist our homeless veterans by supporting their communities in finding shelter for homeless veterans, providing food, clothing and necessary hygienic items to make their life a little easier.
Our veterans overseas are not forgotten this season. Literally hundreds of Legion posts in the nation ship off gift baskets and cards and money and a whole bunch of other stuff to our front line troops. In Colorado we work with the Saluting America project that has school children sign iconic thank you cards and send them to veterans. What an impact these cards make. Some of the messages the kids write will bring veterans to tears. We have a supply of these cards at our state headquarters if you would like to send them to your special veteran.
Then there are our extended care veterans that we can’t forget. Colorado is blessed to have 5 excellent “Community Living Centers” run by the state exclusively for veterans and spouses. The staff of these centers always make the holiday season very festive. They know the sacrifices those in their care made for their freedoms. They go all out to make their holiday season bright. If you have a spare minute this season you may just want to drop in to one of these centers. The staff always welcome visitors and will be glad to introduce you to their veteran clients.
With that on behalf of your American Legion Department staff, Office Manager Elaine Bock, Bookkeeper Amy Grubb, Service Officer Dean Casey, Service Office Admin Erick Wycoff, Deputy Adjutant Tom Bock, Photographer and Editor of this award winning publication Darrell Myers, our IT specialist Michael Smith and myself as your Department Adjutant we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.