A Veterans Day call for and salute to volunteers

Though honorably discharged from military service some time ago, Chad and Rhonda, a Winneconne couple, still feel called to serve. So, they each have been doing whatever they can to help fellow veterans, especially the residents of the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chad spent every Tuesday at King, having lunch with the residents, playing cribbage and cards, helping shuttle residents from building to building for activities, and taking them to the park. While he cautions that volunteers must past a screening and background check, he encourages people, once virus-related restrictions are lifted, to treat themselves to regular visits with some really interesting people. “If you go by there just to visit, you’ll find someone to talk to. That’s just the way it is,” he said. “The lady I visit doesn’t get too many visitors. She talks in a gruff whisper due to a traumatic brain injury, but her mind is all there. I would take her with me to be my partner in a cribbage tournament, no problem.” Visiting and talking with veterans offers a reciprocal heart-warming opportunity as the veterans appreciate the companionship, and the visitors get to hear some fascinating stories. “There is a resident at King who is missing both his arms and his legs. He spent some time in the Mekong River in Thailand, and he wasn’t supposed to be there,” Chad said. Sometimes, those stories need a little loving nudge. The couple’s neighbor, also a veteran, did not talk about his time in the service for most of the 20 years they knew him. “We knew he was a veteran because of his tattoos,” Rhonda said. “So, we would thank him for his service and he would cry and say there is nothing good to say about his time there. It took 20 years of being a good neighbor and Chad eventually asked him if he’d like to take… | Read More »