For the last four years, the American Legion Riders Chapter 156 in Paola, Kansas, has been an active participant in the lives of veterans who live at Life Care Center of Osawatomie, Kansas.
This group of children and grandchildren of veterans assists vets in the area. It first got involved with Life Care Center of Osawatomie when a veteran resident went on an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.; the group offered an escort from the airport to the facility.
“This is a great group of men and women, stepping up not only for our facility but for our community,” said Tammy Conner, activity director.
When a resident who has served in the military is passing, members of Chapter 156 visit with him or her. But that’s not all they do for Life Care Center of Osawatomie.
Each year, the American Legion Riders assist the center with its Wings and Wheels bike night, an annual motorcycle show with hot wings and a live DJ. Members also help associates load and unload the van each year on Veterans Day when residents attend the community celebration.
For the past two years, members have joined veterans at Life Care Center of Osawatomie for dinner during National Nursing Home Week. On May 18, 2017, the facility held a Patriots Day and had a cookout for the vets, young and old.
In July 2017, Chapter 156 escorted the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall and displayed it behind the American Legion building in Paola. The memorial is a slightly smaller replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and includes the names of Americans killed in action during the Vietnam War.
“They invited us over and were there to assist our gentlemen on and off the bus,” said Conner.
“The reading of the Kansas soldiers killed in action was very moving,” said one resident and veteran.
“Our members have big hearts and like to volunteer,” said Bruce Hurt, assistant director of Chapter 156. “We all have a great time with the residents, and we’re honored to help out any time. We love to honor veterans.”