While many events are on hold this summer, some are finding creative ways to raise morale. At Alaska VA Healthcare, volunteers served delicious pre-packaged meals to Veterans at the first Veteran Appreciation Curbside BBQ event.
At the Anchorage Clinic’s back parking lot, cars with hungry Veterans pulled up to tents while masked volunteers handed out meals and supplies. Veterans had their choice of pulled pork, hamburger, hotdog, or vegan burger, prepared for them by Bear’s Belly BBQ.
Through a generous donation of $6,675 from the American Legion, Department of Alaska, the BBQ event was able to happen from 11:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.
Veteran Michael Downs, First Vice Commander, was there to assist giving out meals. He says it is American Legion’s mission to provide help with events like this for Veterans in Alaska, especially on such a perfect summer day.
Other Alaska VA Healthcare volunteers came to offer their support for the event. The Hattons make it a priority to help at Veteran-centric events. Veteran Joe Hatton helped direct traffic, while Daphine Hatton handed out packages.
When asked why they volunteer their time at the VA, Daphine Hatton said, “To me, it shows that we care about the Veterans, we care about the service that you’ve put in for everyone in our society.”
By the end of the event, 375 meals were given out to those that came by for pick-up. In addition, Alaska VA staff members picked up meals for Veterans at the Alaska VA Domiciliary and for homeless Veterans.
Thomas Steinbrunner, Acting Director, said, “This is an amazing opportunity to partner with people from the American Legion to serve our Veterans. We are so grateful for what they do for us and our Veterans each and every day. This is just one perfect example of that support.”
“Operation Comfort Warrior” ended up being an immense success thanks to supporters like the American Legion and our Alaska VA Healthcare volunteers. The rest of the meals will be donated to Veterans and their families staying at the Alaska Fisher House and to homeless Veterans.
We hope to hold other appreciation events like this in the future, so that we can continue to thank and honor our Veterans for their service.