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Idaho Troops Bring Holiday Cheer To Elderly Veterans

Heath Druzin
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Boise State Public Radio
Idaho Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Steve Kober hands out gifts during the annual Camouflage Christmas at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise.

The holidays can be a tough time for older veterans, especially those far away from family. But local military and civilian groups come together each year to make sure they know they’re not forgotten.

At the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise, there was the rip of wrapping paper at the annual Camouflage Christmas, a celebration for the residents of the home. The home’s administrator, Rick Holloway, says the more than 100 residents represent the arc of American military history.

“We do have still about 30 WWII veterans in the facility right now, about 32 Korean War veterans, a few residents from Gulf War, but really Vietnam Veterans taking up most of our population right now,” he said.

Each resident of the veterans home received a big package of shirts, socks and warm clothes donated through the military and Treasure Valley groups. Troops representing all branches of the military were on hand to deliver the holiday bundles and help open presents.

Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio
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Boise State Public Radio
Navy veteran J.R. Wright with his grandchildren, Grant Wright (foreground) and Khloe Wright at the annual Camouflage Christmas celebration at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise.

Navy veteran J.R. Wright is hard to miss in his flag-adorned wheelchair and he seems to know everyone in the room.

“Well, it just means to me that I’m not alone,” he said. “My wife is gone – she’s been gone for 10 or 12 years – and it started out to be a lonesome time but this place has helped me along a lot.”

Idaho Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Steve Kober was handing out gifts for his fourth Camouflage Christmas.

“It’s just a great honor to show respect to all the guys that have served in the military prior to us,” he said.

As you think about ways to give during the holidays, veterans advocates ask you to keep those who served in mind.

Follow Heath Druzin on Twitter @HDruzin for more local news.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

Heath Druzin was Boise State Public Radio’s Guns & America fellow from 2018-2020, during which he focused on extremist movements, suicide prevention and gun culture.

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