Holidays brought to veterans via handmade bagsPublished 10:26am Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
For Clifford Nelson and his wife Marcelle, the holiday season is a time to give back to America’s veterans.
Nelson, a member of the VFW Post 4952 in Berrien Springs has been trying to give back for more than a decade. Every year he coordinates a Christmas and Valentine’s Day party for veterans at the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek For Christmas, his wife hand sews little bags she and her husband fill with items like shampoo, conditions, notebooks, gloves and phone cards for local veterans like those residents at Lincoln Estates in Niles who received the gifts Tuesday.
“‘I’ve been doing parties at the VA hospital for about 14 years,” Nelson said.
Giving back has special meaning to Nelson. A medic who served during the Vietnam War, he said, “Some of the guys I worked on didn’t make it. And this is a way for me to give back a little bit.”
For some of America’s servicemen and women who have fought in wars past, Nelson said the sad reality is the gifts they receive from those members in the community who think of them, might be the only gifts they receive for the holidays.
“So you see why I go,” he said.
Nelson and Marcelle also work hard to make sure that the areas veterans don’t go hungry, working to feed them when they can.
“My wife and I go out and beat the sidewalks for donations,” he said.
Marcelle sewed 110 bags before having surgery done on her shoulder, Nelson said. A few supporters made the rest, for a total of 150.
Nelson has passed out about 120 bags already and he’s hanging on to the remaining gifts to hand out to new residents.
“There’s stuff in those bags that these guys can use,” he said.
The VFW Post in Berrien Springs has about 25-30 members, Nelson said. Along with he and his wife there were four additional members who helped in getting the gifts together.
Anyone who wants to do something to help area veterans can “volunteer with a service organization,” Nelson said. “They can write letters to veterans, there are a lot of things they can do.”