Thanks to the Pierre Capital Journal for publishing this story!
November 20, 2018
For over 40 years now, the Pierre Elks Lodge #1953 is again leading a large group of sponsors in filling drop-off boxes with much-needed Christmas items for patients at the federal Veterans Medical Center and the state Veterans Home, both in Hot Springs.
Collections will go through Dec. 14. Wattier said the items will be delivered to both places December 17.
“One hundred percent goes to veterans,” said Jerry Wattier, co-chair of the program. “As long as there are veterans, we will never forget them. We want to not only give a hand in charity, but a hand in friendship.”
“I am with the County Veterans Office. It’s kind of my thing helping veterans,” said Sheila Carpenter, co-chair with Wattier. “The Veterans Administration homes have a lot of low income people, and they don’t get much for Christmas.” She, like so many others, is volunteering to honor relatives who are or were veterans, in her case a grandfather and father. “The program is growing. Last year we raised approximately $37,000 of new stuff. We couldn’t do it without all these partners and givers.”
“We are huge supporters of veterans,” said Dawn Van Ash, CEO of Oahe Federal Credit Union. “We have been doing this drop-off box thing for years. I and most of our staff have veterans in our families.”
Collection boxes are at area financial institutions, other businesses and organizations. The financial institutions include Oahe Federal Credit Union, American Bank and Trust, BankWest, First Dakota National Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo bank, First National Bank, Dakota Prairie Bank, Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union and Black Hills Federal Credit Union.
Collection boxes are also at Gateway FLT, Runnings, KCCR, American Legion Post 8, Pierre Senior Citizens Center, Menards, Oahe Inc., Linn Medical Center, New Life Assembly of God Church, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, the Attorney General’s Office, the Hansen-Becker Building, Jefferson Elementary, the National Guard Building, the National Guard Museum, Graham Tire, Prynt Comm, the Hughes County Courthouse, and the Elk’s Office in the AGC Building.
Wattier said the veterans’ wish lists include such essentials as white underwear and socks, shampoo. For those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, such things as Lincoln Logs and puzzles are appreciated. Some desire older items such as lava lamps, and their era’s of CD music and DVD movies. Most of the items are simple ones; suggestions can be seen at any drop-off point.