N.D. Guard soldiers, airmen to visit veteran's home in Lisbon, deliver giftsOn Wednesday, airmen and soldiers of the North Dakota National Guard will load vehicles full of presents and military volunteers to make their annual trip to the North Dakota Veteran’s Home in Lisbon, N.D., delivering presents to retired military members and spouses.
On Wednesday, airmen and soldiers of the North Dakota National Guard will load vehicles full of presents and military volunteers to make their annual trip to the North Dakota Veteran’s Home in Lisbon, N.D., delivering presents to retired military members and spouses.
The North Dakota Air and Army National Guard alternate the coordination of this event each year. Master Sgt. Glenda Edwardson and Tech. Sgt. Tracy Zidon of the 119th Wing organized this year’s gift drive for the veterans.
"Often the items on the veteran’s wish list are everyday-type items like clothing, shoes or toiletry items and sometimes it’s the only gift they receive," Edwardson said.
"The veterans typically ask for so little and they are so grateful when we come visit them. It is by far a favorite event for the unit each year," Zidon said.
Several military members have gotten to know the veterans and pick the same person each year and some airmen, such as Senior Master Sgt. Wade Swenson, have an even closer bond with veter-ans in the home.
"A former coworker and Happy Hooligan that retired about 10 years ago is at the veteran’s home in Lisbon," he said "This year a group of us who used to work with him when he was in the unit decided to sponsor him. It will be nice to see him again and remind him that his Hooligan family is thinking about him."
North Dakota Air and Army Guard members began fundraising for the event in October. Many members bought gifts for the veterans or donated money toward the cause.
The 119th Wing Chaplain’s office also helped raise funds by sponsoring a coin drive competition against the different squadrons in the unit.
"The squadron with the most weight in coins won the contest, but the catch was if you donated paper money, you could steal coins from another squadron. It was a lot of fun and very successful," said Tech. Sgt. Chadwick Hanson, 119th Wing Chaplains office.
Once the gifts were bought and gathered, the 119th Wing Family Support Group gathered volun-teers to wrap all of the presents. This year the group wrapped more than 100 gifts.
"This event is special not only because it brings together so many different areas in the N.D. Na-tional Guard for a good cause, but it also connects us with military veterans who served before us," Edwardson said.
"Coordinating this event is definitely a rewarding experience. To see their faces when we come to visit them and hear their stories is the best present of all," Zidon said.