‘We're having our 17th-annual nursing home veterans Christmas program,” said James Saddler of Post 23. “We have a pretty good crowd here. I was a little bit worried earlier, because they were slow in getting here. We like to have them here about 11 or 11:30 (a.m.) and get ready to eat about 12.”
Saddler said his group was able to account for 185 veterans in nursing homes, and while a large number would be in attendance and get their gifts at the party, others, for health reasons could not attend, so presents would be delivered individually.
“Those who are here will certainly have a good time. Some will get up and dance ,and do what they want to, and we will give them some presents,” he said. “The presents range from a size 15 wide shoe to a fedora, whatever a fedora is. We've got little lounge chairs for people to take with them on an outing, all kinds of sweat suits, underclothing, bed clothing, and pictures for the wall. Whatever they asked for, we tried to get it.”
Saddler said United States Enrichment Corporation made a monetary donation to help with the cost of the project to help veterans.
“USEC likes to get involved with the community,” said USEC representative Vernon Blaine. “Especially things that are helpful to the community and disabled veterans, having a program for them and be able to honor them. It doesn't get any better.”
Portsmouth City Councilman Bob Mollette also was present at the party.
“It shows appreciation for the veterans who served their country. A lot of times, I think veterans are forgotten about as time progresses, and we need to continue to celebrate this time and to continue to let them know we haven't forgotten about them,” Mollette said. “They are an important asset to our country. My youngest boy is in the Navy right now, and I'm proud of him.”
Also attending the event was Clare A. Rubadue Jr., military family support for the governor's Office of Veterans Affairs.
“The governor had originally hoped to be here, but they scheduled a meeting with a general for today, so he had to be at that, and so he wanted somebody to represent him,” Rubadue said. “When he was a congressman, he came to several of these events and thought they were great. I'm really happy with what the post has done here. It's wonderful of them to give these veterans a chance to get out at Christmastime. It's just great. He (Gov. Ted Strickland) wanted to make sure someone was here, and so I got the honor of representing him.”
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.