Recruits sing and party with vet home residents

Dec 17 2011 - 10:09pm

Images

ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Sgt. Anthony Holdren and Staff Sgt. Colt Anderson sing karaoke Christmas carols during a party with residents at the George E. Wahlen  Veterans Home on Saturday.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Gabrielle Mayeaux (right), talks with resident Jack Roe during a holiday party at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Home on Saturday.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Sgt. Anthony Holdren and Staff Sgt. Colt Anderson sing karaoke Christmas carols during a party with residents at the George E. Wahlen  Veterans Home on Saturday.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Gabrielle Mayeaux (right), talks with resident Jack Roe during a holiday party at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Home on Saturday.

OGDEN -- Marine recruits visited and sang with the veterans residing at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Home on Saturday.

The recruits joined current Marines and members of VFW Post 1481 and its auxiliary at a party honoring those from all military branches who served in past conflicts. The residents received refreshments and gifts from post members.

"At holiday tables this year across the nation there will be one empty chair," said Dennis Howland, a VFW member and Marine veteran, at the end of the program. "We need to remember all who have served and those who are serving. And we should not forget the women. They are serving today also. Many of them have also died."

Howland kept the hour-long program lively and fun for the residents. About 40, many who were in wheelchairs or used walkers for mobility, joined in the singing, which included Christmas songs, rock-n-roll and country.

"It's wild," said Bettie Bond, 90, of Roy, a Navy veteran of World War II who now lives in the nursing home.

She joined the Navy shortly after her older brother was killed, said Bond, who grew up in Ogden.

"He was my best friend," Bond said. "He taught me everything. I could do anything a man could do."

Bond said she appreciates it when groups come to the home to do activities with residents.

"When they honor anyone who serves it makes me feel like I did something worthwhile," she said.

Bond is one of the few women veterans living at the nursing home.

RJ Schaewe, 66, who served in the Army, sang "I can't help falling in love with you" to the group.

Schaewe, who has been at the home for the past five months, said he likes to sing.

"I know you wouldn't think I could now," he said, laughing after he finished.

Kyle Changery, 23, of Fruit Heights, was one of the Marine recruits who attended the event. Changery said he is joining the Marines because "I always liked the idea of being a Marine, the soldier on the frontline carrying the gun."

Changery said visiting with the veterans helped him appreciate what many others have done for their country.

Marine Staff Sgt. Colt Anderson said 30 recruits, who are in pretraining, attended Saturday's activities.

The majority, including Changery, will be going to San Diego in February for boot camp.

This is the fifth year VFW Post 1481 has hosted a Christmas event for veterans in nursing homes, said Post Commander Doug Larson.

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