Santa spreads a little holiday warmth at the vets’ home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Staff Reporter

RESERVE — The men and women of the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans home who gave so much in serving their country when needed most got a little something back courtesy of the Louisiana Farm Bureau.

Representatives from the Women’s Leadership Committee of the Farm Bureau were on hand with Santa Claus to hand out lap blankets to the many residents of the Reserve Veteran’s home.

“At a time when our nation is focused on the war on terror, we wanted to honor those veterans of wars past and present,” said Denise Hymel, a sugar producer from Gramercy and chairperson of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “Farm Bureau women have embraced this project. We want to make our veterans feel cared for this holiday season.”

Hymel said more than 150 blankets will be donated to the home. Many blankets were made by Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee members, while others were purchased with funds raised by the committee.

“We aim to bring about awareness of agriculture in everything we do and this has been the best project we have been a part of,” said Hymel. “We feel that without the efforts of these men and women, we may not have anything to farm.”

The Reserve visit was the last stop on the Farm Bureau’s tour of Veteran’s homes across the state. Hymel said more than 650 blankets were donated to veterans facilities in Bossier City, Jennings, Monroe and Alexandria.

At the Reserve stop Santa Clause, played by St. John School Board Member Russ Wise, personally greeted each veteran in attendance and sang songs to lighten the mood.

“I hope you’ve all been good this year,” Claus said the roughly 80 veterans assembled in the center room of the home. “I’m making my list and checking it twice.”

Hymel said the blanket donation is the latest in a series of outreach programs conducted by the Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. During the year the committee donated food and other items to charitable groups, including the Baton Rouge Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House charities and the Faith Share Mission in Grand Lake.