Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Vets celebrate the season with giving, fellowship

From left, veterans Kirk Macdonald, Harry Graves, Dan Davi and Woody Hughes hand out Christmas goodies at Lakeport Skilled Nursing on Tuesday as part of the "Seniors Not Forgotten" holiday campaign. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



"To live is not to live for one's self; let us help one another." – Menander

LAKEPORT – Local veterans gathered together this week to share holiday good cheer with seniors around the county.

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the United Veterans Council took part in the fourth annual "Seniors Not Forgotten" Christmas campaign.

This year Dan Davi and Frank Parker once again coordinated the gathering of donations – both from local businesses and residents – in order to provide gifts to seniors and care facilities. Despite the tough economy, the vets reported that the community was generous once again.

This past Saturday, the groups kicked off the week of Christmas giving with a gift wrapping party at St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church Hall in Lakeport. They put together gifts including blankets and an abundance of handmade items, the latter crafted by Suzanne Schneider.

Over the next several days, they visited Lakeport facilities including Edelweiss Nursing Home, Evergreen Lakeport Healthcare and Lakeport Skilled Nursing. They're slated for a visit to Meadowood Nursing Center in Clearlake on Christmas morning.

When the Seniors Not Forgotten effort started several years ago, it initially focused on reaching out to veterans in convalescent facilities. However, the groups expanded their efforts to reach out to the hundreds of seniors who are in permanent care in the nursing centers, giving out fleece blankets and slipper socks.

This year, Davi and Dean Gotham, president of the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter, said they decided to go to the nursing facilities to ask if there was anything in particular they wanted to help care for their senior patients.

Gotham said the facility administrators all made the same request – a Wii gaming system.

The system, the center administrators told the vets, could help with therapy for seniors who needed the mental and physical stimulation.

This week, that wish was granted, with the vets delivering the Wiis and Christmas greetings during visits to the care facilities.

On Tuesday afternoon, the vets gathered at Lakeport Skilled Nursing, where they joined with a roomful of seniors to sing Christmas carols and give out the handmade gifts.

During the visit, they presented the gaming system plus another gift – a barbecue that the seniors can enjoy once the warmer weather arrives.




Dan Davi prepares to present the Wii gaming system and barbecue to the seniors at Lakeport Skilled Nursing on Tuesday. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


Joining the vets was Santa Claus – played by Supervisor Rob Brown – who made the rounds of the rooms to visit those residents who were unable to make it to the activity room.

Gotham and his fellow veterans walk patrol on behalf of those who need a helping hand year-round, but their efforts have taken on a special importance at the end of what has been a challenging year for many residents.

Earlier his week, Lake County News received a letter from Bill Conway and his son, Joshua, of Glenhaven, thanking Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars for their unexpected help this holiday season.

On Saturday, Davi, Gotham and VFW Adjutant Kirk Macdonald showed up at the Conways' home with gifts and groceries after finding out about their need. Bill Conway compared the men to the three wise men bearing gifts.

The goal was simply to reach out to someone who needed a helping hand. Gotham said they didn't realize until later that Conway happened to be a Vietnam-era veteran.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Santa (portrayed by Supervisor Rob Brown), a Lakeport Skilled Nursing staffer and United Veterans Council President Frank Parker visit patients at Lakeport Skilled Nursing on Tuesday. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Upcoming Calendar

07.17.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
07.18.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



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