GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Many residents at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans have spent Christmas far away from home or even on a battlefield. This year, a veteran’s support group called ‘We the People’ did a Christmas card collection.
“We just thought we could maybe get 700 cards to give both homes, the one in the U.P. and the one here. We ended up like over 2,000 cards.” Kirt “Bubba” Lampen said.
Some of the cards came from as far away as the Netherlands and North Carolina, while local school children also got into the holiday giving spirit.
“They’re so grateful for anything you do for them and just, they gave a lot for us, and I wouldn’t be where I was at if it wasn’t for these guys.” Lampen added.
Veterans gathered Friday in the all-purpose room decorated with trees and a musician singing on stage. Along with the cards, donations like blankets, socks and donuts were handed out. One extra special surprise came for WWII Veteran Ted Tyler who once played with Willie Nelson; his own guitar.
“There ain’t no words good enough to say to the people that’s how I think how good they are, I appreciate every one of them, everyone that had anything to do with it. “ a teary eyed Tyler said, “I thank you all from the depth of my heart.”
Little did the vets know that this was only the beginning of the kind deeds this Christmas; children at Vista Charter Academy in Wyoming stayed after school to make 10 lap blankets, to be delivered next week.
“I think it’s just an amazing opportunity to be able to just give back and not just be helping inside our school but be helping in the community and everything else.” Vista student Rebecca Lambert said.
“The biggest thing for me, that if I can leave the thought with them that we give out, give, and not always think about ourselves that’s what I want to teach them.” Art teacher Amanda Blair added.
For those who would like to do something nice for a veteran at the home, there is a tree in the main lobby with wish list ornaments; some of the items wanted are as simple as cologne.