PALM COAST, Florida (December 22, 2016) — On Monday, December 19th, DAV 86 Auxiliary members traveled to St. Augustine, Florida, to present sixty—that’s 60 lap quilts—made by the loving hands of Unit 86 Auxiliary members, to veterans at the Lassen VA Nursing Home. Although all members who participated in the quilting activity couldn’t attend because of prior commitments or family matters, those who delivered the quilts knew they were there “in spirit”.
With Junior Vice Commander Alice Wilson spearheading the effort, and members Irene Tilghman and Nongual Dollar leading the quilting group, the lap quilts for veterans were made in record time. Each quilt’s front side was fashioned with squares of materials donated by friends of the Auxiliary, and the back sides of the quilts were fitted with a red, white and/or blue patriotic-themed material, making each lap robe not only different, but also extra special. And with the help of DAV members Marty Feidler and Tina Chaves, and Tina’s daughter Liz, expert quilting know-how and equipment was brought to the table.
Irene Tilghman folded and packed quilts in festive holiday bags for transport to the nursing home. Ten Auxiliary members dressed in festive colors to meet and bring holidays greetings to several of the resident veterans receiving the lap robes, and to present nursing home staff members with the quilts to distribute. Auxiliary members spent time speaking with various veterans in the home and discussing the veterans’ backgrounds, service, and families. Needless to say, veterans were thrilled to receive the quilted lap robes, and Auxiliary members enjoyed satisfying fulfillment for their hard work during the past few months.
Knowing bingo was a veteran activity later in the afternoon, Alice Wilson made sure our Auxiliary was the VA nursing home’s focus for the entire day. She arranged for Ann Jacobs, her friend and pastry chef extraordinaire, to provide home-baked snickerdoodle cookies, wrapped individually in festive, holiday wrappings, for each of the bingo participants. Unit 86’s special thanks go to Ann for her cookies made with loving care.
Unit 86 members also were pleased that Anita Alferes, close friend of DAVA Chaplain Dawn Vello and former Lassen VA Nursing Home employee, visited the nursing home with us, provided Auxiliary members with special insight into the home, and renewed old friendships with the Lassen staff.
After meeting with veterans and staff at the nursing home, Auxiliary members spent a few minutes mulling over the holiday season, the good feelings today gave each of them, and the workload ahead of them with plans to produce another 60 lap robes in the coming months. The members were surprised when Dawn Vello asked they all remain seated on the nursing home’s rocking chairs for a “Surprise Santa Gift”. Returning from her car, Dawn gave everyone one of her baked goodies—loaves of banana, cranberry, or pumpkin bread, wrapped and topped with a holiday bow. Thanks to Dawn for her extra thoughtfulness.
To make the occasion even more special, participants decided a “group luncheon” was in order and, at the suggestion of Alice Wilson, Barnacle Bill’s, a St. Augustine institution, was selected. Alice made arrangements for a table for 10 and, even with 10 separate checks and just about 10 different entrees, we were treated royally by the restaurant staff, one of whom even took our photo after lunch…smiles all around.
Commander Claudia Parker would not only like to thank all those who worked to fashion the lap robe quilts, but also those who made the trip to Lassen VA Nursing Home, especially Dawn Vello, Beverly Noble and Katherine Petrelli who drove auxiliary members to the home.