MARQUETTE — Thanks to tremendous support from the community Christmas came early for some of our local veterans.
The ‘Christmas Is For Veterans’ event which is put on by Great Lakes Radio provides their listeners with the opportunity to donate gifts for the men and women who served our country. The gifts are collected and brought to the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans.
“We get a wish–list from the Jacobetti Home,” said Co–Organizer Walt Lindala, “and they have items such as flannel shirts, slippers, batteries, word–find books. Then we put that out on the air and then we work with our sponsors. We had Super One Foods involved and we had Bayside Beverage. They really helped us out with giving us great locations for people to drop the items off. Now we’ve got hundreds of items and it’s the best turnout so far that we’ve had.”
Along with the massive pile of gifts came dozens of happy veterans.
“This is an important aspect for our veterans,” said Volunteer Coordinator Ken Arseneau, “it shows that the community still cares and still thinking of our members.”
The idea for the event was sparked from interviews with members of the Jacobetti home around the holidays in past years.
“A lot of these veterans don’t have family here,” added Lindala, “a lot of these veterans have no one at Christmas except maybe the other residents and we said ‘why don’t we ask our listeners to get some gifts together and we’ll give them to the veterans just before Christmas’ and it’s turned into a fantastic event.”
A newer tradition added to the event is the singing of holiday tunes from Bothwell Middle School volunteers. The students all said they like singing, but enjoy socializing with the vets afterward even more.
“We’re here to visit people who don’t really have anybody to see in the holidays,” said Bothwell 7th Grade Student Jordan Flint, “and make them feel special.”
The Lions Club also handed out Christmas cards to add to the community–wide effort.
“We’re happy to be sort of the catalyst for it,” Lindala added, “but it’s the community coming together at this time of the year remembering our veterans.”