Friendship Force holds annual Patriotic ‘Christmas in July’ Party

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Cajun Dancers are (Front), Left to right: Brenda Clark, Mary Ann Krupsky, Amelia Babin, Helen Gonzales and Karen Denby and (Back), left to right: Chuck Bark, John Krupsky, Don “Speedy” Gonzales, Nolan Babin and Steve Loro. (Chuck Bark and Brenda Clark live in Prairieville and Nolan and Amelia Babin live in Gonzales.)
Photos by Charles Bennett

The Friendship Force of Baton Rouge hosted its annual Patriotic “Christmas in July” Party for the veterans at the War Veterans Home in Jackson at 10 o’clock on Saturday,, July 27. Sandwiches, chips, grapes, bananas, decorated Christmas Cake (donated by Whole Foods) and drinks were served to the veterans and their families.

Les Danseurs de la Capitale de Baton Rouge entertained the attendees with their Cajun dances and then invited some of the residents to join in the dance. They concluded their performance with everyone singing “God Bless America”. The Zumettes (Zumba) dancers then proceeded to perform some lively dancing to the enjoyment of the gathering.

The veterans were presented with Christmas bags of “goodies” containing several useful items. On their departure from the festivities, the veterans were given Girl Scout cookies and peanuts, bananas and soft drinks to take to their rooms. Earl Corkern delivered a truck filled with watermelons that were donated by a friend in Washington Parish. Most of the watermelons were left for the residents to eat later and some were distributed to the volunteers.

To help fund the event, Frances and Charles Bennett, Keith Corkern, Jean and Howard Merrill and Sue and Richard Phillips applied for a team grant from ExxonMobil. Other donations were received from Walmart in Denham Springs, Walmart Neighborhood Market in Baton Rouge, Sam’s Club at Cortana Mall, Whole Foods at Town Cnter, Louisiana Lottery, Hollywood Casino, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Lofton Staffing, Better Business Bureau, Home Instead Senior Care, Blue Star Moms, Raising Canes on S. Sherwood Forest, Capitol City Produce, Friendship Force Members Earl Corkern and Sue May.

Frances Bennett chaired the event and was assisted by Charles Bennett, Bob and Gayle Duncan, Barbara Wittkopf, Thornton Cofield, Karen Pharis, Patsy Becker, Jean and Howard Merrill, Keith Corkern, Jo Ann Wall and Sue and Richard Phillips. Others attending the day of the party and assisting were: Marilyn Mansur, Carole and Earl Corkern, Corinne Formellier, Lynn Robbins, Tom and Margaret Moore, Eveline Alleman, Karen Vingiello, Rose Wooden, Vera Martin, Pat Hunt, Betty Simmons and Darwin and Linda Knochenmus.

Cajun dancers attending were: Don “Speedy” and Helen Gonzales, Nolan and Amelia Babin, John and Mary Ann Krupsky, Chuck Bark and Brenda Clark, Steve Loro and Karen Denby.

Zumettes attending were: Dee Dee Poullard, Angelica Ramirez, Sue Phillips, Trish Kaplan, Judy Lopez and Rancy Boyd-Snee.