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Fort Hood Press Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 29, 2013 2:25:41 PM CDT

Soldiers pay homage at Texas veterans’ home over competitive bingo

By 1st Lt. Kat Kaliski, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West Public Affairs

 

166th Aviation Brigade Commander, Col. Kevin Vizzarri (right) and Command Sgt. Maj. Glen Vela (left), and members of the brigade, take a question-and-answer session with residents of the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Texas, on Memorial Day. (Photo by 1st Lt. Kat Kaliski, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West Public Affairs)

 

TEMPLE, Texas — While Memorial Day can often be a time of solemn remembrance, it is also a time to honor the military history and stories that span a great number of generations.

To celebrate, members of the 166th Aviation Brigade went to the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Texas to spend quality time with veterans there playing highly competitive games of bingo.

According to John Christopher Fischer, veteran and Texas State Veterans Home volunteer, the facility is “not a nursing home, it is a veterans’ home.”

  166th Aviation Brigade Commander, Col. Kevin Vizzarri (left) and Command Sgt. Maj. Glen Vela (right), call out bingo numbers at the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Texas, on Memorial Day. (Photo by 1st Lt. Kat Kaliski, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs)

 

Carolyn Rumfield, Activities Director for the Home, met with 166th Aviation Brigade Commander, Col. Kevin Vizzarri, and Command Sgt. Maj. Glen Vela, early-on to create the vision for the event. She emphasized the significance of Soldier interaction with the veterans.

A common pastime among residents — bingo — allowed Soldiers to mingle, and swap stories with veterans in a comfortable and informal environment.

And on Memorial Day, the room was packed, and filled with vitality, as veterans, active duty service members, friends and family, all joined in together to honor the posting of the colors.

Voices from the crowd could be heard singing along as Sgt. 1st Class Caron Jackson sang the National Anthem. A brief question-and-answer portion gave the residents the opportunity to learn more about the present-day Army. In turn, the active duty service members and their families were able to hear in-person stories of things that happened during World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

  Command Sgt. Maj. Eduardo Cuadrado of the 166th Aviation Brigade, and his wife Shirley, enjoy a heart-felt conversation with a resident of the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Texas, on Memorial Day. (Photo by 1st Lt. Kat Kaliski, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West Public Affairs)

 

The “culminating event,” according to Vizzarri was bingo, and laughter could be heard throughout the entire facility for the remainder of their stay. 

Some visit grave sites, while others stay home and barbecue, but for the 166th Aviation Brigade, they wanted to “share the day with the veterans that have come before us,” said Vela.

For Vizzarri, they were there “to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this great nation.”

According to Fischer, many of the veterans, particularly after Vietnam, were shunned, both by the government and by society as a whole. You could sense that the chance to commiserate and share experiences is good for the soul.

For more information contact:
First Army Division West Public Affairs
First Army Division West
(254) 553-5003
Fort Hood, TX 76544
[email protected]