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    Charitable traditions remain at Columbia VAHCS for the season

    Charitable traditions remain at Columbia VAHCS for the season

    Photo By Jennifer Scales | (PHOTO BY Bob Hall, Columbia VAHCS Public Affairs) The entrance way to the Wm....... read more read more



    Story by Jennifer Scales 

    Columbia VA Health Care System

    Christmas cheer roared in on a beautiful day, Dec. 8, for the 19th Annual Vets Charity Ride. With more than the usual riders because of the warm weather, thousands of motorcyclists arrived at the Wm. Jennings VA Medical Center delivering gifts and holiday messages to the Veterans of the Columbia Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

    The next few days brought in staff and volunteers, some returning while others were on a first-time venture, to sort and pack.

    Yolanda Mincey, a member of Bible Way Church where she serves in a capacity as deputy director of Programs for Nonprofits, was again in place this year to assist.

    “I along with other members of Bible Way have made a commitment to support Veterans and especially Dorn VA, and we want to do whatever we can, whenever we can to achieve that goal,” Mincey said. “No effort is too small and anything we can do to brighten up the day of a Veteran is a hit for me.”

    As a program support assistant in Columbia VAHCS Voluntary Services, this was a first-time event for Melissa Heckenlaible.

    “This is so exciting,” Heckenlaible said. “Seeing the gifts and donations from the generosity of strangers is wonderful and a new experience for me.”

    The 92nd Disabled American Veterans Buffalo Soldiers Chapter 20 in West Columbia was represented by Army Veteran Leroy Tyson, Sr. “Helping out in this manner is just one way for me give back to my fellow brethren,” Tyson said. “And as long as I have the health and strength, I will do it.”

    Also on hand again were Soldiers and civilians from the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Jackson. Capt. Samuel Girwarnauth echoed the sentiments for his office by relaying their helpful attitude for the Veterans of the Columbia VAHCS.

    “As one federal agency to another, we are always looking for opportunities to help Veterans,” Girwarnauth said. “These donations are for the Veterans who have already given so much. Now it’s our turn to give to them.”

    Live music was rendered during the packing and sorting phase by members of ‘Healing Harmonies’, a branch of the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. Dick Goodwin, Coast Guard Veteran and member of the musical entourage expressed gratification in helping and seeing the volunteer support.

    “This is an amazing effort on the part of the givers,” Goodwin said. “We are just so proud to see the community together in support of our South Carolina Veterans.”

    Gift delivery day is always a day of excitement for the recipients of the gifts. Santa along with a few of his ‘elf’ volunteers spent most of the morning passing them out to the in-patient residents.

    Civilian and military elves such as Winthrop University freshman Daniel Finney, Army Capt. Thaddeus Coe, Army Sgt. Amelia Parrot, and Ronnie Jackson assisted in the deliveries.

    “This is a time for us to give back to our Veterans and acknowledge them for all their efforts and paths they have laid for us who continue to serve,” Coe said.

    Finney, who is continuing his volunteer efforts at the Rock Hill Community-Based Outpatient Clinic and a former volunteer at Dorn, said this was a norm for him.

    “Even though it’s the holiday season, I still wanted to do my part to help in giving support to the wonderful Veterans who are right here at this facility,” Finney said.

    Veterans Kenneth Graham and Lee Box expressed their personal gift desires for the holiday season.

    “I want something good,” Box said.

    “Give me an electric wheel chair so I can rest my arms,” Graham stated.

    The Vets Charity Ride is an event held every December, culminating at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC. The next ride is scheduled for December 6, 2020.



    Date Taken: 12.13.2019
    Date Posted: 12.17.2019 15:48
    Story ID: 356074
    Location: COLUMBIA, SC, US 

    Web Views: 92
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