When the call came out to provide more than 100 gifts for veterans at the Iowa Veterans Home who don't have family around for the holidays, the community responded.
The annual Adopt-A-Veteran Christmas party was held at IVH Sunday night as a group of 51 veterans each got at least two presents, which were purchased by community members.
"It's tremendous," said Army veteran and IVH resident Billy Krofta after he received gifts of clothing and electronics. "It really means something - especially to me since I don't have any relation."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Iowa Veterans Home resident Cliff France, left, receives a gift from Caleb Lyon Sunday during the Adopt-A-Veteran Christmas party at IVH.
Randy Kessler is the new director of the program which is put on by the Marshalltown Central Business District. He was amazed at the response by community members to help the veterans as they chose gift requests on stars from downtown stores. Kessler said all of the stars were taken off the trees within about a week and everyone came through with the gifts.
"It lets them know that people still think about the veterans," Kessler said.
The event was a family affair for Pete and Mary Lyon of Toledo. They brought 27 family members from throughout the area and the adults of the families decided in lieu of purchasing gifts for each other, they would spend the money on gifts for the veterans.
"It's a good experience for the family to learn to give," Mary Lyon said.
The event also included a performance by the Marshalltown High School holiday singers and punch and cookies. Even Santa Claus took part in the festivities.
IVH Commandant David Worley commended the community members who helped brighten the holidays for the veterans.
"It is really amazing," Worley said. "This is one of those events when the community does all the work."
Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org