By Frank Lewis
Despite suffering from an illness, Jim Saddler of James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion, was in attendance at the annual Nursing Home Veterans Picnic at the Shawnee Boat Club located at the Court Street Landing in Portsmouth Wednesday afternoon.
“Look at all the people,” Saddler beamed. He was right. Veterans from nursing homes and their caregivers converged on the riverfront to enjoy a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, beans and cornbread, and fruit.
“It’s a culmination of a lot of different organizations,” Rich Saddler of the Sons of the American Legion said. “Mainly the Bikers For Charity. They go out and do the road blocks once a year and all that money is donated for the picnic and, of course, SOCF (Southern Ohio Correctional Facility) is a big benefactor in this and our Christmas Party. Our local Shrine Hillbillies, Clan 1 Outhouse 3, they’re a big part of it and the Shawnee Boat Club. It’s just so many organizations coming together for a common cause and that’s to support our veterans, especially the ones who are in the nursing homes.”
Rich Saddler said the picnic and the Christmas party are important to the nursing home veterans.
“They’re not able to get out in society like we are and able to do things,” Saddler said. “So twice a year we try to get them out for our picnic and our Christmas party to show them a big thank you.”
When the rains began to fall Wednesday morning the picnic was in doubt for a while, but those involved in the organizing of the event took their case higher.
“We were really kind of scared this morning with the rain,” Saddler said. “The good Lord looked down on us and saw what we were doing and at about 11 o’clock (a.m.) the rain started subsiding and it’s nice now.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.