By Jessica Farrish
A celebration at Veterans Administration Medical Center in Beckley Monday was filled with song and stories and a surprise Chick-fil-A luncheon, compliments of Heartland of Beckley.
Kelly Sams, director of admissions at Heartland, said that Heartland and VAMC are the only two skilled nursing facilities in Beckley which honor Veterans Administration contracts.
“So we have built a great relationship with the VA,” she said. “We want to show those veterans at our facility and those that (choose VAMC) that we are there for them.
“Today’s a great day to remember and show how much we appreciate and care for what they’ve done for us.”
Samms joined VAMC Public Affairs Officer Debbie Voloski and other VAMC staff in serving food to several veterans who attended a special celebration in a festively decorated snack room at VAMC.
Everett Cucumber, a Native American of Cherokee descent, sang a verse of “Amazing Grace” in English for his fellow veterans prior to the meal, then delivered the song in his native language.
George Legg, 91, formerly of Kilsyth, served with the U.S. Army Combat Engineers in the European Theater of World War II.
Legg is a former boxer.
“My toughest fight was my mother-in-law,” quipped Legg. “Boy, she could whip me. I never did get to whip her.”
George Roberts, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956, said the luncheon was a surprise.
Sams also presented each veteran with a patriotic recognition pin from Heartland.
“Heartland really appreciates all the service you did for us,” she told veterans.
Sams also helped serve Chick-fil-A lunches to VAMC patients who were unable to make it to the snack room celebration.
“I think the patients really enjoyed that we showed them how much we care for what they have done for our country,” said Samms. “They are why we are where we are today.”
Voloski, who joined Sams and VAMC staff in serving the catered lunch to veterans, said she was grateful for the support showed to veterans by Heartland of Beckley.
Many mobile veterans left the hospital to participate in the Veteran’s Day parade in uptown Beckley and to join other events honoring veterans, including a luncheon at American Legion Post 32.
Most of the veterans served by the Heartland delivery were unable to leave the hospital Monday, said Voloski.
“It’s so important that the Heartland community shows these veterans support, because they are so deserving and they are the most unpresumptious individuals, ever,” said Voloski. “They are so appreciative of any recognition they get. They are awesome.
“This delivery by Heartland brings socialization to the veterans that weren’t able to get out.”
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