Volunteers Make Sure Vets Are Not Forgotten on Christmas

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**Embargo: Scranton-Wilkes Barre, PA**

This Christmas, Santa did stop by, but he also had help from volunteers with the American Legion, who helped him deliver presents to all the veterans who call this place home.

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WNEP) — Many of us were greeted with presents Christmas morning and that includes our local veterans.

“Santa Stop Here” is the message on one of the decorations hanging on the wall of the recreation room inside the VA Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre.

This Christmas, Santa did stop by, but he also had help from volunteers with the American Legion, who helped him deliver presents to all the veterans who call this place home.

“For me, that’s Christmas,” explains Nicole Guest, a Past Director commander for the 12th District American Legion who volunteers at the VA and organizes Christmas festivities for the veterans. “When you walk into their room, and you go in, and they see you, and you have the gift. When you see the joy in their face and the smile but not only on their face, but you feel it in your heart. That is the best Christmas present anyone could ever receive.”

“Oh boy dairy milk chocolate, cards,” says Navy Veteran Derbert Dilworth as he opens his presents from volunteers. “The gifts were tremendous. The blanket was fabulous here, some coupon booklets, sweaters, socks, cards from everybody. It’s just fabulous gift-giving.”

Dilworth and other veterans say this day is very special.

“I’ll tell ya it means so much to me, especially, you know I don’t have family around it’s just a really good feeling a good blessing,” adds Dilworth.

“The people are wonderful to us and all those service organizations that come in here I mean it’s wonderful. What we really appreciate is that they say ‘I love you’ and that makes a lot of us really happy,” says Korean War Veteran and POW Fred Searles.

After a calm morning of opening gifts at the VA Medical Center, it was time for Christmas dinner and a party.

“Indeed, it’s fun having parties all the time. It’s really good,” adds Dilworth.

“Just to get in and give them something to smile a little bit just the little things you appreciate today,” adds Searles. “It’s wonderful that they have people that come in and have people that come in and tell them how much they love them, and they keep doing things and doing things for ya.”

“They’re my heroes,” says Guest. “They’re the American Legion’s family’s heroes, and we’ll never, never let them sit here alone, not just on Christmas but any holiday.”

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