St. John firefighters bring more than doughnuts to Reserve veterans home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – A group of St. John the Baptist Parish firefighters along with some other representatives from the local community tried to bring a little excitement to the lives of the residents at the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve Saturday.

The group brought coffee and doughnuts to the veterans in the first of what organizer Michael Heath hopes will be a monthly occurrence.

Heath said he was inspired to start the effort by visiting his mother in a nursing home. He said he saw the monotony that many nursing home residents face on a daily basis and just wanted to do something to help ease the boredom.

“I just thought it was a good thing,” he said.

Heath had some help from the community in setting up and carrying out the visit.

Besides the four firefighters present — Heath, Doug Brasington, Justin James and Greg Fincher — some members of Heath’s Norco church men’s group, the reigning St. John Andouille Queens and members of the St. John Sheriff’s Office and Young Marines also volunteered their time Saturday morning. Additonally, PJ’s Coffee in LaPlace donated the coffee, an action that Heath said was unsolicited.

“I was just going in to order it,” said Heath.

But when workers at the shop learned what the coffee was for, they offered it up for free.

Heath said although he hopes to make the visits monthly, he plans to change the activity from month to month. He said the real purpose of the visits is not the activity itself but just spending time with the residents of the home, some of whom spend long stretches of time without a visitor.

Heath said he also hopes to bring a little more visibility to the firefighters of St. John Parish. Heath is president of the St. John Professional Firefighters Association.