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By Nancy Herberholz
FCRV WT Chapter
[This article originally appeared in the January 1 edition of the Winter Texan Times.]
The Family Campers and RVers (FCRV) Winter Texan chapter has been privileged to help the veterans at the Alfredo Gonzales Texas State Veterans Home for several years. One of the projects that the chapter works on, all year round, is furnishing stuffed animals. The memory care unit is one of the special places that uses the stuffed animals. The stuffed animals have a calming effect on the Veterans.
One of the chapter couples, Judy and Mahlon Dickey happened to share the need for stuffed animals with their friends, Diane and Roger Gibson.
The Gibsons are from Kellerton.
Diane is an accomplished crocheter and has a unique hobby – she crochets stuffed animals. She asked Judy if she could crochet some of her homemade stuffed animals for the veterans and Judy readily agreed.
Come to find out, Diane’s homemade crocheted animals are a favorite of the activities director, Marlene Mendez, and her staff of angels that work with the Veterans. The animals have a different feel than the furry stuffed animals and are much harder to pull pieces off. This is helpful for the safety of those veterans in the memory care unit or those who are suffering from suicidal tendencies.
Since the crocheted animals are so popular with the staff and veterans, many of the FCRV Winter Texans have donated yarn, or money for yarn, for Diane to crochet more of them. It is a match made in heaven.
Diane and her husband were honored for contribution to the Veterans Home at a recent luncheon and meeting held at the Riverside Club. The group thanks Diane Gibson and her husband Roger and all of the FCRV Winter Texans who have contributed to this project.
The Veterans Home has 160 beds that stay full most of the time, so there is a great need for constant donations. Many of the RCRV Winter Texans collect stuffed animals all winter and bring large amounts of them back to the valley at the beginning of the winter with them for the Veterans Home.
Pat Rozelle, who is a member of the FCRV Winter Texans, crochets beautiful lap blankets for the veterans and Tim and Suzie Zich supply the Veterans Home, several times a year, with small beanie baby like animals, that Marlene and her angels use for bingo prizes. If a vet wins bingo, they get to pick an animal and then have to make the sound that particular animal makes, to keep their minds sharp.
On December 23, many of the FCRV Winter Texans and some volunteers went to the Veterans Home to give out signed Christmas cards, cookies, candy, cupcakes and many other goodies to ensure that the Vets know that they are not forgotten. FCRV thanks all who participated in any of these projects and are pleased to honor the vets who fought for our country.