Camden - Kings Bay Council

Lake City, FL, VA Medical Center Visit - Thursday, July 6th

On July 6, 2017, several members of our Council traveled to the VA Medical Center in Lake City, FL, to visit with retired and hospitalized Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Mariners. The purpose of our visit was to express our thanks for their past service and sacrifice, and distribute personal care items, books and other entertainment which can't be provided by the VA due to budget restraints.

More than $700 in personal care items and "Bingo Bucks" were donated by our members and delivered on July 6th. Thank you for your donations!

As is always the case with our visits, spending time with the hospitalized vets was both moving and memorable.

According to event organizer Cheryl Aston: "Mike Carey, VAMC Director of Volunteer Services, expressed his thanks and gratitude numerous times throughout our visit, stating that they always look forward to our visit since we are the only organization that comes more than once a year. It's such a great feeling when we see some of the same faces during BINGO who remember our past visits and are glad to see us and call us by name!

"The visits for me are always filled with lots of different emotions. This visit in particular was heartbreaking/ heart wrenching; we sat with a woman named Erica who thought Sheila (McNeill) was her mother and I was her sister, When Stevie (Obee) walked up she asked, "are you my daddy?" She was SO sweet & had the most beautiful lost looking eyes. She kept saying, "I am a Navy girl!" She was so proud of herself and we made sure she knew how proud we were of her and her service to our nation."

"It was a wonderful experience," added Sheila McNeill. "Erica had asked me twice if I was her mother - after that I decided to just say yes and to spend some time telling her how proud I was of her - pleased with her service to the country and what she had made of herself. She kept smiling and saying, "I love you mommy." She was so happy to have her mother there if only for a few minutes.

"So many moments - to see all of those veterans walk, limp, or roll into Bingo in their wheel chairs so quietly with little smiling, and then to see them perk up and leave all talking together and happy was amazing. To think bingo would have such an affect.

"It was a day well spent."

Truer words were never spoken. Plan now to become involved in our next visit to the VA Medical Center in December.

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Each July and December members of our Council travel to the VA Medical Center in Lake City, FL, to visit with retired and hospitalized Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Mariners. The point of our visit is to express our thanks for their past service and sacrifice, and distribute personal care items, books and other entertainment which can't be provided by the VA due to budget restraints.

We are currently collecting donations (cash and supplies) for the visit to the Lake City Medical Center, which cares for veterans from North Florida and South Georgia..

Below is the list of items currently being requested by the Lake City VA Medical Center:

  • Individual real sugar and powered cream packets for coffee program by the case
  • Comfort Items, to include Men’s Deodorant, Men’s Body Spray, Body Wash, Shampoo
  • Crafts of ANY KIND
  • New clothing S, M, L, XL, (Sweat Pants)
  • Postage Stamps
  • Bird House Kits for Restorative care
  • Bunn commercial coffee pot for Waycross Outpatient Clinic
  • Wheel Chair Gloves
  • Board and Other Games (Pokeno, Poker Chips, Ladder Ball Golf, Corn hole, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Back scratchers
  • Corn Hole Bags
  • Non-Toxic, Non-flammable model glue for crafts
  • Colored pencils

You can drop off your donated items at the St. Marys Submarine Museum, or you can contact Cheryl Aston or Stevie Obee to arrange pick up.

In addition to donated items listed above, cash contributions to purchase items for the VA Medical Center are always welcome and appreciated. Please make your check payable to "Camden - Kings Bay Navy League," and mail to Gull Weaver at the address below to arrive no later than July 3rd. Please add "VA" to the memo line on your check. All donations of cash and supplies are tax deductible.

Gull Weaver
105 Royal Court
St. Marys, GA 31558

All members are welcome to join us on July 6th as we caravan to Lake City to deliver the supplies and spend time with the veterans. The trip is approximately a 90 minute drive and transportation can be provided. We plan on arriving at the Medical Center in Lake City, FL at 10:00 a.m., visit with veterans until 12:00 noon, have lunch on our own from noon to 1:30 p.m., then we'll host BINGO for the veterans from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. We'll leave the medical center after the BINGO tournament has concluded. Please contact Cheryl Aston or Stevie Obee if you wish to join us on this most memorable and worthwhile trip.