News: Guard volunteers show appreciation at veterans home
LISBON, N.D. — A veterans appreciation day at the North Dakota Veterans Home gave younger service members the opportunity to say thanks to those who served before them. Volunteers from the North Dakota National Guard traveled to the home in Lisbon, N.D., today.
While there, they set up informational resource tables, shared lunch, sang holiday songs and delivered gifts purchased with donated funds.
“We’re here today to thank all of you for your service to our country,” Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, told the residents gathered there. “As I look around the room, I see dozens of veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam … and it’s really an honor for us to be here with you and help you celebrate the holidays, help you welcome in the new year, and, as I said, to thank you for your service to this great nation. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be here standing in front of you enjoying this fine afternoon, so thank you.”
About 130 residents made special requests for things they needed or could use, and volunteer “elves” from the National Guard went shopping. The presents ranged from framed pictures for residents’ rooms to scented bath items to a singing, drumming bear.
“(I’m) real happy about (the event), and I’ve got a lot of respect for the Guards,” said the Army Infantry veteran decked out in a Santa hat and colorful suspenders who received the bear.
State Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Miller helped organize the event, which has taken place for numerous years. The lead coordination rotates each year between the North Dakota Army National Guard and North Dakota Air National Guard, although volunteers come from both branches each year.
This year, nearly two dozen Guardsmen traveled to the home to show their appreciation.
“We got to spend a lot of time with the veterans, and we got to see where they live and, with the new facility here, it’s really beautiful. It’s an amazing place,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Coombs, a full-time chaplain’s assistant in Bismarck, N.D. “… (They’re) really happy that we visited. Over and over again, you heard them say, ‘So glad you came to visit us. It’s good to see you.’ They really like to see us here spending time with them.”
Besides chaplains, the visit included other specialists with the North Dakota National Guard who provide services to veterans of all eras, including licensed social workers, a Survivor Outreach Specialist and a Military Outreach Team specialist.