Back to Veterans Day

JBLM's 5-5 ADA Soldiers help seniors celebrate Veterans Day

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

The residents of the Olympic Alzheimer's Center in Gig Harbor thought that they were going to have their typical Veteran's Day celebration last week, but they were in for a surprise.

What they did not know was that Soldiers with the Second Platoon, Bravo Battery, 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (5-5 ADA) from Joint Base Lewis-McChord would be there to celebrate with them.

The Olympic Alzheimer's Center is a part of Prestige Care, a senior living facility that focuses on the loving, long term care of citizens who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease, memory loss and other forms of dementia. "Our main focus is to just be there during their journey. We want to make them feel loved, and give them a sense of validation and safety," said Kathy Wells, director of community relations. Several locations span the West Coast, from Washington to Arizona, and the facilities offer everything from independent to assisted living as well as nursing and rehabilitation centers.

While the JBLM Soldiers' involvement was not traditional, it was very welcomed. "The residents love having visitors, especially those in uniform," Wells said. The military ties continue beyond the Soldiers' visit, as Prestige Care owner Harold Delamarter served in the military and Activity Coordinator Angie Sayre was in the Army for six years.

The connection with the 5-5 ADA Soldiers started with Office Manager Robina Gaines, who is married to Spc. Rickey Gaines, a Soldier with the battalion. "We were talking about how amazing it would be to have Soldiers here," Wells said, "and Robina mentioned that maybe she could talk to her husband." 

Spc. Gaines, along with Pfc. Joshua Cook; Pfc. Terry Smith; Platoon Leader 2nd Lt. Trevor Hopkins; and Battery Commander Capt. Talgin Cannon all volunteered, even bringing their families with them.

During the ceremony, the center presented its 11 veterans with certificates honoring their service. Along with the veterans, the 17 wives of veterans received Certificates of Appreciation as well. "Their faces just lit up, it was truly what I would call a ‘magic moment,'" said Wells. Entertainer Joe Mundo sang to the crowd after the certificates were handed out, serenading them with everything from "Yankee Doodle Dandy" to all five military branch songs.

Read next close


The history of Eagle Pride

comments powered by Disqus