PDT Staff Writer
A sunny, hot and somewhat breezy day greeted participants in the annual James Dickey Post 23 American Legion Nursing Home Veterans Picnic at the Shawnee Boat Club on the banks of the Ohio River Wednesday.
Food was catered to each individual in attendance, including nursing home veterans, their caretakers and family members, as well as a lot of members of the community who came to honor them for their service.
“A lot of the nursing home veterans don’t have any family, and they are kind of by themselves,” Shawn Gee, Commander of Post 23, said. “We like to bring them down here and show them our appreciation once a year and let them know that we live in the country we do because of people like them.”
Political leaders from the area also attended the event and took the time to shake the hands of the veterans in attendance.
“I think this is one way of honoring the people that are in nursing homes, rest homes, and even out in the public,” New Boston Mayor Jim Warren said. “They are able to come down here to participate in honoring the veterans.”
Dudley Nichols of the Shawnee Boat Club remembers how the picnic started in the boat club dock area.
“We started quite a few years back down at the American Legion at Christmas time,” Nichols said. “A few years back we decided to have it on the river to see how it worked. I told Jim Saddler, ‘we’re in trouble. They had too good of a time. We’re going to have to do it every year.’”
Fundraisers, area businesses and members of the community contribute financially to make the event possible.
“A special shout-out to the caregivers that get them down here, and take care of them the other 364 days a year, which is generally a thankless job, but we love our vets,” Gee said. “We’ve got to have them and this is just a good deal.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.