Dots Diner and Knights of Columbus bring Christmas cheer to veterans
RESERVE, La. – Santa Claus isn’t the only one bringing gifts and joy to Louisiana’s veterans this year. Two Louisiana organizations delivered Christmas cheer in the form of coveted items that will be distributed to all Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) veterans home residents.
On Dec. 12, Dots Diners and the Pope John Paul II Assembly #3226 of the Knights of Columbus dropped off the DVD’s, CD’s, books, clothing, and treats they collected through their respective organizations at LDVA’s Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home (SELVH) located in Reserve, La.
The SELVH residents were overwhelmed with laughter and joy as volunteers showered them with gifts, veteran humor, and helped spread Christmas cheer.
“We are grateful to both of these organizations for the continued commitment our veterans and for helping us make their lives richer,” said LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland who encourages this is the type of community involvement.
The Pope John Paul II Assembly #3226 of the Knights of Columbus gave out Christmas presents to the Veterans in the form of 300 pairs of diabetic socks, 150 t-shirts with pockets, 180 Hershey bars, 24 boxes of hot chocolate mix, 24 bags of mini marshmallows, and several WWII books for veterans to enjoy while reading in the homes’ libraries.
U.S. Air Force Veteran Peter Caperineo said their organization is comprised of veterans and is focused on doing charitable work that will benefit veterans. This is the fourth year that their service project involved a “can shake” at local food markets to help raise the funds used to purchase the items requested by the LDVA veterans home residents.
“We do this because we all veterans that want to help veterans,” said Caperineo who hopes this tradition stay alive if he ever becomes a resident at LDVA’s “top-notch” SELVH home.
Dot’s Diners founder and CEO Larry Katz made Christmas presentation by donating the 300 DVD’s and 40 music CD’s that were collected at his diners this year. These items will also be distributed among the LDVA veteran homes located in Reserve, Jackson, Bossier City, Monroe, and Jennings, La.
“Thank you all for your service, Merry Christmas, and good health,” said Katz as he addressed the crowd smiling onlookers. Katz says this annual event has become a favorite tradition for his customers and, moving forward, they are looking at ways to tailor the donation requests to include other items the veterans might enjoy.
According to Katz, Dot’s Diners have collected almost 8,000 DVD’s for Veterans since they started this program back in 2010.
“We are so thankful for organizations, like Dots Diners and the Knights of Columbus for continuing to bless our veterans and residents with such generous donations,” said SELVH Administrator Brian Fremin. “We all look forward to spending time with them during the Christmas season each year.”
The LDVA encourages groups and individuals to reach out to our five veterans homes and get to know the service men and women who live there. For contact information on specific homes, please visit: www.vetaffairs.la.gov, or call our headquarters, at (225) 1219-5000.
After the donation presentations and a wonderful round of impromptu Christmas carols, SELVH Certified Nursing Assistant Marva Coleman serenaded veterans with her beautiful acapella renditions of ‘Silent Night,’ ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,’ and ‘O Holy Night.’
Merry Christmas to all, indeed.