PDT Staff Writer
James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion and the Shawnee Boat club co-sponsored the annual summer picnic for nursing home veterans Wednesday at the boat club marina in Portsmouth.
“We started having the summer picnic down here about five years ago,” said James Saddler of Post 23. “And we've been doing a Christmas party down at James Dickey Post number 23 for 16 years.”
Saddler said all of the nursing home residents, their guests and health providers were invited to come and enjoy food and entertainment under tents on the banks of the Ohio River.
“We try to feed them, show them a good time and get them out of the home for a little bit,” he said. “And today, they're all going to get a twenty dollar bill, and that's money we receive in contributions from our community.”
Darrell Ramey, commodore of Shawnee Boat Club, and said the club gets involved because it's very good for the veterans.
“They enjoy themselves, and it helps us just to see them enjoy themselves,” Ramey said. “We've had a couple of hundred at times and it seems to me that it will be like that today, maybe more.”
Saddler said Post 23 took care of 185 Scioto County veterans at Christmas and gave them more than 800 gifts.
Veterans and friends enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, potato salad, cake and soft drinks, all served by volunteers.
Angie Camp, public relations and marketing director at Urgent Care Portsmouth, said she goes to a different nursing home every day.
“So I know most of the people who are attending today, and I work with the veterans at Post 23 on a lot of different projects,” Camp said. “This is such a wonderful event the veterans organization puts on for the veterans in the nursing homes, and we're happy to be a part of it.”
“They did something that allows us to freely gather, and we can vote,” Saddler said. “A lot of them don't have very many visitors. A lot of them don't have a lot of money, and it costs a lot of money to live in a nursing home, so we try to take care of the little bit of funds that we can, and the twenty dollar bill isn't much, but if the guy wants a pack of cigarettes, or to get him a pop or whatever - that's what it's for.”