It's time to serve our Veterans
When you walk into the new Veteran’s Administration Clinic near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) you may be greeted by a member of the Veteran Administration volunteer staff. This dedicated group of people helps meet the needs of our Alaskan veterans going through medical treatment. The volunteer group is there to individually support veterans as well as identify group needs. The Volunteer team is headed by Judy Thompson and the Chugiak Lions are excited to work with her and her staff.
On a daily basis Judy and her volunteers provide free coffee to veterans waiting for service at the clinic. Coffee, cream and sugar are provided through money donated to the VA volunteer coffee fund. When asking Judy about her group and what they needed, she felt coffee money donations would be great. This small service is truly appreciated by the Alaskan veterans. The Chugiak Lions recently donated enough money to fund their coffee supplies for six months.
In addition, Mrs. Thompson does a project to help support veterans traveling to Washington for medical treatment not provided in Alaska. This can be financially burdensome for some Alaskan veterans. The VA Volunteer group gives each traveling veteran a “goodie” bag to assist with their trip. The money for this project is also donated.
So the Chugiak Lions asked ‘What can we do?” Together we came up with a list of items the veterans could use to travel out of state. The Chugiak Lions are purchasing personal hygiene kits consisting of travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, shampoo/conditioner and deodorant. In addition, they will also supply Kleenex, pencils, gum, hard candy, peanut butter bars and notepads. The VA volunteers already have the bags, Alaska Vet coffee cups, playing cards and phone calling cards. This helps traveling veterans from having to purchase these items just for one trip. These projects are more than just “items” to a veteran. They say “we care.” It says we are here and want to recognize their needs. Not in a large way, but in the small things that we can do for them.
As our local troops return from oversea deployments the military will have great challenges meeting their numerous needs in Alaska. The VA volunteers will need more support to meet the increase in numbers needing their help. The two things you can offer our veterans now are your time and financial support. It does not need to be a long-term commitment or a lot of money. Just working on a single project can add up to a lot of help for our veterans. The Lions Clubs in Alaska will surely do their part to help support our local heroes. If you are interested in helping our Alaskan veterans there are several Chugiak/Eagle River local organizations you may contact; all three local Lions clubs (Chugiak Lions, Eagle River Lions, and Sleeping Lady Lions); the American Legion Post 33 in Peter’s Creek and the VFW Post in Eagle River.
For information on Lions, or to get involved with this or other projects, call Amy Demboski at 301-9179.