Metro Residents Bring Holiday Cheer to Veterans

Monday, December 22nd 2008, 7:39 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The holiday season can be a difficult time for our nation's aging war heroes as they sit in VA hospitals, with little or no family around to lift their spirits. But a group of fellow veterans is changing that.

Members of the Holdenville VFW brought gifts Monday, four carts full of gift bags and baskets, to every in-patient at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. They even went door to door, hand delivering Christmas cheer.

In addition to the goody bags, the Holdenville vets delivered autographed photos of Toby Keith and Vince Gill, and certificates of appreciation.

"And just saying 'hi', and shaking hands and sharing some prayers and some Christmas thoughts with these guys, does 'em good. Cheers us up too," Holdenville VFW Commander Michael Shedd said.

The VFW spent more than $1,000 on all the gifts, but VA officials said the truth is, you can't put a price on this sort of community support.

"Not only does it mean a lot to the patients themselves, we see that in the smiles we get from them or the words of encouragement we get from them. But also the staff as well, we see a little bit better morale at times. And that translates into better patient care all the way around," Richard Maxey with the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center said.

At every doorway, in every room they entered, a simple gesture was appreciated and spirits were lifted.

"Definitely did mine. Made me feel better to know that people care out there," Vietnam veteran Melvin Randleman said.

The Holdenville VFW also donated a Wii video game console and remote control cars. VA officials said those gifts will help vets who need physical therapy.