10th annual ‘Patriotic Christmas in July’ held at veteran’s facility

Frances Bennett Special to The Citizen
The Les Danseurs de La Capitale de Baton Rouge dance troupe entertained veterans and guests Saturday, July 26 in Jackson. Left to right: Karen Denby, Steve Lero, Sandy and Charles Lejeune, Brenda Clark, Chuck Bark, both of Prairieville; Amelia and Nolan Babin, of Duplessis; and Maryann and John Krupsky.

The Friendship Force of Baton Rouge traveled to Jackson, Louisiana Saturday, July 26 to honor the war veterans with its 10th annual “Patriotic Christmas in July” Party.

The Les Danseurs de La Capitale de Baton Rouge dance troupe entertained the veterans and guests with many dance numbers. They had everyone join in the “Cajun Waltz Train.” They also did a “wheelchair dance” so the people in wheelchairs could participate. Their program ended with the singing of “God Bless America.” Friendship Force member Margaret Moore played a few numbers on the piano.

The veterans and their families were treated to sandwiches, cake, chips, bananas and cookies. As they were returning to their rooms, they were given Christmas bags of “goodies” and also received a box of Girl Scout cookies, drinks and bananas.

Friendship Force member Earl Corkern brought a truck loaded with Washington Parish watermelons for the veterans to enjoy later. A very large quantity of packaged coffee was also donated by the Blue Star Moms of Louisiana – Chapter 1 to make sure the veterans had their afternoon coffee.

Donations for the party were received from the Blue Star Moms of Louisiana – Chapter 1, Walmart Neighborhood Market on Old Hammond Highway, Walmart in Denham Springs, Walmart at Cortana. Sam’s Club at Cortana, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, March of Dimes, Greg Bravata – Allstate Insurance, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Total Care Injury and Pain Center.

Charles and Frances Bennett, Howard and Jean Merrill and Keith Corkern also formed a team to obtain an ExxonMobil grant for the event.

The event was chaired by the Bennetts with Christmas decorations by Bob and Gayle Duncan. Others assisting at the party were Thornton Cofield, Barbara Wittkopf, Karen Pharis, Patsy Becker, Howard and Jean Merrill, Earl and Carole Corkern, Keith Corkern, Marilyn Mansur, Karen Vingiello, Lin Ashton, Corinne Formeller, Jo Ann Wall and Tom and Margaret Moore.