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Simple gesture greatly appreciated by those who served before

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dan Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Once a month in Cheyenne, Wyo. a pastime is shared and holds a special meaning for those involved.

Members of F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., set aside a part of their morning schedule to travel across town to visit with veterans at the Cheyenne Veteran's Affairs Clinic and play Bingo, before returning to the mission.

Warren's Top 3 organization sponsors the monthly visit, and anyone affiliated with F. E. Warren is encouraged to participate and spend some quality time with the veterans in hospice, long-term and acute rehabilitation care.

"We've seen a good turnout recently," said Master Sgt. Jeanine Steele, 90th Communications Squadron. "I've been organizing this since February and we've seen an average of 25 Airmen coming to spend time with the veterans since March.

"We play Bingo in the common area every month, and if we get enough Airmen from the base, we have some of them visit with individuals who may have difficulty getting around in their rooms," added Steele.

Along with the chance to spend time with some of the Air Force's current servicemembers, the residents receive some spending money as a prize for winning a round of Bingo.

"Anyone who wins a game receives a 'canteen booklet' for the VA shoppette," explained Steele. "It contains tokens good for candy, soda and other small items available for purchase there.

"At the end of the day everyone who didn't win a game also receives a booklet," added Steele.

The monthly visit is something both current servicemembers and military veterans both look forward to.

"These events are great for the residents here," said John Williamson, a life-long Cheyenne native and veteran of the Navy, Army, National Guard and Air National Guard. "It's a wonderful change of pace and I enjoy the opportunity to meet some of today's military members."

Current servicemembers also enjoy the opportunity to interact with people who are a part of their heritage.

"I think it's important to participate in events like this," said Senior Airman Dominic Jordan, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, who came to visit the veterans with fellow members of the Warren Honor Guard.

"As an Honor Guard member I feel it's important to show proper respect to fellow servicemembers," added Jordan. "Coming here and sharing stories with the people who paved the way for what we do today is an incredible experience."

The Top 3-sponsored visits to the Cheyenne VA hospital are scheduled on a monthly basis, according to Steele.

"They are always on a Thursday, and always from 10 to 11 a.m., I try to schedule the visits around holidays as well," she added.

"We can always use more help from either individuals or other organizations," she concluded. "It can be donations or just coming to the hospital to spend time with the veterans, every bit goes a long way and is very welcome."

For more information on the Warren Top 3 sponsored visits contact Master Sgt. Jeanine Steele at 773-5115.