By Patricia A. Douglas, Post 911 public affairs coordinator
With the COVID-19 virus breakout of 2020 and subsequent quarantine, many veterans felt lonely and isolated. This can be especially true of older veterans, particularly those who served in World War II and Korea.
Ryan Winslow Post 911 in Hoover, Ala., sought to connect especially with those members.
“We have 47 members who served during World War II and Korea, said Post Commander Ginger Branson. “With the lockdown, we knew it would be vital to connect with our older members.” That is about 15% of the post membership.
Many of these members also have limited access to or knowledge of the internet, so getting information to and from them can be problematic.
Larry Parks, post second vice commander, made it his mission to call and visit with each of those members during the past year, many times on the porch through a screen door.
“I was very glad to do anything I can do to help them,” said Parks.
For those who have the ability to display one, the post gave each of them the Post 911 “A Proud Veteran Lives Here” yard sign.
“Seeing the sign in each front yard makes me happy,” he said.
Branson has high praises for the work Parks has done to connect with these veterans.
“Larry has really gone above and beyond with this project,” she said. “He has spent many hours personally visiting these veterans, which has made a big difference in their lives.”
In addition to serving the post’s more senior members, the post assists spouses when veterans pass away.
Post VSO Peyton Ligon reports monthly on the number of veterans and widows he has assisted. He makes a concerted effort to reach out to any new widows.
But the post isn’t just concerned with its older members, according to Branson. During the past year, there have been four organized “Buddy Checks” to connect with all members.
“We have contacted everyone in the post who we haven’t heard from since the pandemic began,” she said. “We want to check on them to make sure their needs are met. We will never leave a fallen brother or sister behind.”