PORTSMOUTH — In the spirit of the holiday season, American Legion Post 471 recently hosted their annual Sweats for Vets event.
Each year, Post 471 gathers names of Veterans in local nursing homes to buy Christmas gifts for.
“We call around and get every single veteran at every nursing home in Scioto County,” said Olivia Williams, Auxiliary President. “We release that list to all the members at our post and people will sign up to sponsor a veteran.”
Members purchase full sweatsuits for the veterans and this year the members were able to include crosssword puzzles, socks, gloves, and a blanket.
“Right before Christmas we are able to take them around to nursing homes and give them to veterans,” said Williams.
A total of 64 veterans received gifts from the post and were delivered by the Auxiliary, the Sons of the American Legion, the American Legion Riders, and the Legionaires.
Williams said overall it’s a very humbling experience.
“It was nice seeing these people smile and hear the nurses say it’s been such a hard time for them to not be able to see people because of Covid and to see them smile now and touch their hearts for Christmas,” said Williams.
Member Janis Coriell said she had a very eye opening experience while delivering gifts.
“We were very fortunate and got to go into the nursing home of the place we were assigned to,” said Coriell.
Coriell delivered gifts to Riverrun Healthcare in Franklin Furnance.
“One of the gentlemen we go to see was so excited that someone actually came to visit him and he grabbed his face and looked at us in disbelief that we were actually there for him,” said Coriell.
Coriell said the veteran proceeded to show them items from his military background.
“It made you realize why you do what you do and why you join the American Legion and what the benefits are of joining the American Legion and it’s not the benefits we get, it’s the benefits we give other people of what we can do for veterans and their families,” said Coriell.
Coriell said the American Legion provides life changing experiences.
“It provides life changing assistance and guidance for the veterans, their families, and their children but not just the people who can come into the legion, it’s the people who can’t,” said Coriell.
The American Legion hosted a Thanksgiving dinner where they accepted donations to go towards the Christmas gifts and Coriell said SOMC gave a big donation as well.
The legion does plan to do Easter baskets for the veterans as well.
“We kind of decided our vets need more than one year so we put together that we were going to put together Easter baskets next year and we talked about including a lighter sweatsuit, chap-stick, nonslip socks, little activities they can do, and maybe bigger blanket,” said Williams.
Coriell said if anyone would like to get involved, they will be starting to gather donations for Easter baskets at the beginning of the year.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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