Friday, December 11, 2015

Our "Wounded Warriors" by Karla Stover

     The official Wounded Warriors Project registered for organization on February 23, 2005. The project I participate in isn't quite that old.
     Not many people know that National Garden Clubs are actively involved in community services. When I joined Root and Bloom Garden Club in January 2008, the members were looking for a community project and I suggested doing something for the residents at the Washington Soldier's Home and Colony, locally known as the Orting Soldier's Home because of its location on the edge of Orting in the Puyallup Valley. Using club money, a donation from the Mary Ball Chapter of DAR, and a grant from the Tacoma Garden Club, we planted over 400 daffodil bulbs. This led to a residents' garden club. Throughout spring and summer, we help those interested plant vegetable gardens in planter boxes raised to accommodate wheelchairs, and provide the plants and seeds they request. When the produce is ready for harvest, we have a feed. And at Christmas we buy the club members gifts. My husband and I delivered them yesterday.
     I learned, yesterday, that the last surviving WWI resident died recently but that there are still quite a few men and a few women (who have a Red Hat Club in the home) from WWII. I would love to record their war experiences and create a book but it's been my experience that soldiers don't like to talk about the war.
     However, getting back to their Christmas Wish Lists--so poignant. The government has cut back on many of their services (one reason they love the daffodils in bloom) and they want such basic things as shampoo, laundry detergent, and stick deodorant. Almost every list included Irish Spring soap and many also wanted V8 juice and sugar free chocolate. There were requests for handkerchiefs, Kleenex, and small boxes of apple juice. Usually we buy the items using some of our treasury money but this year the ladies took names, bought all the items requested and put them in Christmas bags.
     We can't all make monthly monetary donations as their ad requests but most of us can do little things to show our Wounded Warriors that we haven't forgotten them and that we care.