Iowa veterans who are being treated at the VA Medical Center in Omaha this week are able to take part in a holiday tradition that dates back to the 1930s. VA spokesman Will Ackerman says the American Legion Auxiliary has opened special store at the hospital where veterans can shop for free.
“The holiday gift shop is for hospitalized veterans who are inpatient, going through dialysis, and those in our recovery center,” Ackerman says. “These veterans are able to select up to four free gifts for their loved ones.” The auxiliary also wraps the gifts at no cost to the veteran.
“These veterans otherwise may not be able to get out and get a gift for their loved ones,” Ackerman says. “This is something the American Legion Auxiliary has done for decades in partnership with the VA.” Auxiliary volunteers also have a portable cart which they wheel around to visit rooms of patients who can’t make it to the shop to select their presents.
“They buy all the gifts and they buy all the wrapping paper and they do all the work and we here at the VA provide them a room to do it in,” Ackerman says. “It’s just a great opportunity to give back to the veterans who have given to us.”
The gift shop is open at the Omaha hospital through Wednesday.
By Karla James