The Department of Veterans Affairs indicates there are over a million veterans who make their home in the state of Florida. Among the various branches of Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard are very active, strong groups of volunteers who avidly seek to help those in need as well as providing services to the various veterans homes and facilities throughout the state.
Veteran volunteers serve as an important part in the lives of residents at Florida’s state veterans’ homes. From raising money for needed equipment to purchasing gifts for residents at Christmas or providing entertainment at the homes, volunteer groups are a major part of the daily lives for veterans. There are times when they are the only source of social interaction for elderly residents whose families live in other states.
The first week in March, The Marine Corps League #876 of Palm Coast/Flagler Beach celebrated their 28th anniversary at the Net By George Restaurant in Flagler.
At that time they brought to mind their beginning. This included plans committed to the first Saturday of each month, visiting and spending time doing whatever was needed for residents of Emory L Bennett Veterans Nursing Home.
Their first visit as volunteers was in answer to a request for a Memorial service for a veteran. From that point on, the Marine Brigade visited the first Saturday of each month with the veterans at ELB.
For years, the Marines and their Auxiliary came, brought special treats, and spent the afternoon with the veteran residents until they could no longer visit because of the Covid 19 problem.
For many months, no one was allowed to visit for fear of having or spreading the deadly virus. At that time the Marines decided to have Pizza delivered to the door of the facility on the first Saturday of each month for all the resident veterans. This was done for many months as the Pandemic isolation crisis continued on.
Now that some are al-lowed to visit the facility, their treats are a variety of foods including chicken, salads, desserts, and drinks. The first of these arrived when Sgt. Frank Paco Arce came the first Saturday in March 2022.
This is one example of the work of volunteers, which include veterans and many, many others who choose a lifetime of helping those who need assistance.
It is a very gratifying experience to deal with life from a warm heart and active spirit. Happy Anniversary years!
Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.