For more than a decade, members of Franklin's American Legion Post 108 and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter have been working together to bring the holiday spirit to shut-in veterans in the community through their “Christmas Cheer” project.
According to Don Bowen, member of the American Legion, last weekend 13 volunteers worked together to visit with local veterans who are confined to their homes or who have been placed in nursing homes. “We were able to visit with 45 veterans, 20 of which were in nursing homes and give them fruit baskets, hats, poinsettias and just spend time with them,” said Bowen, who said that he has been a part of the event for the 10 years he has been with the legion. “Some of the guys were just happy to have visitors.”
The holiday season is often the loneliest time of year, which is why these two organizations have partnered together to make a special opportunity to thank the men and women who have served our country.
The same day the American Legion and VFW visited with local veterans, members of the Lady's Auxiliary visited with widows of veterans in the community and gave out 19 $50 Ingles gift cards, and other gifts.
“This year, the Ladies’ Auxiliary sent over 7,000 Christmas cards to troops overseas,” said Bowen. “Last year the ladies in Franklin were second in the nation in the amount of cards they sent out.”
In all, the VFW and the American Legion spent $1,300 for gifts for the veterans, but that pales in comparison to what it meant to those shut-in to have visitors for the holidays.