By Kaitlyn Schmitt, UW-Oshkosh Red Cross Club Member and Service to Armed Forces Chair
On Sunday, March 8th, members from the UWO American Red Cross Club visited King Veterans Home and assisted with Bingo with the veterans. This was the club’s third time volunteering with our heroes at King. We assisted the veterans to their seats, and once we heard someone yell “Bingo,” we checked their cards and handed out prize quarters. When the veterans entered the room and saw us, they got so excited to see a young group of caring and dedicated women who want to make an impact in the lives of our nation’s true heroes.
UWO American Red Cross Club member, Courtney Gussert stated: “It was a great time at King Veterans Home as many of the veterans along with the women instantly had a smile on their faces when they entered the bingo room and saw us. There was tension in the air during bingo as you could tell how competitive some of the veterans got to win a quarter. It was eye-opening to see the beautiful location on the water along with the high-tech underground transportation system. Volunteering here was a fun experience which I hope UWO American Red Cross Club decides to do again!” Ali Sommerfeldt also noticed the smiles of the veterans and stated: “There were many times when I would catch a resident’s eye while we were playing bingo and they would just beam over at me. It is the best feeling knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s day just by spending a few hours with them.”
Rachael Carlson recounted: “I thought that it was an amazing experience to be with a generation we’ve heard so much about. In school, we learn what these people have been through. But it’s not every day that you get the chance to socialize with them. This experience really showed me how happy people can get from little things like bingo and quarters, and reminded me that it’s the little things in life that matter.”
Getting to talk with the veterans was very eye-opening and it was amazing to put a smile on these incredible people’s faces. I feel extremely blessed to have been given this opportunity to spend time with such an amazing group of individuals – those who selflessly served our country for the freedom that we have today and who have given so much for others. It is an incredible feeling spreading hope and joy to the veterans and making a positive impact in their lives. Seeing the excitement and gratitude on their faces makes what I do all worthwhile. Club member, Brooke Trzebiatowski, also enjoyed the experience and exclaimed: “Going to the veteran’s home was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed how excited all of the residents got because we were there to help, and it was really cool to see the place! I would love to go again! They were a blast to be around!”
These veterans, who have served our country, make us honored to serve them. Nicole Knudtson expressed: “I loved helping out with bingo today! The veterans all seemed to have a good time and their excitement when they got bingo made my day. Several veterans thanked us for our service at the end, and I wish I would have thanked them all for theirs. We did just one simple task, but they did so much for us!”
Volunteering at King was a very rewarding experience and I look forward to more opportunities volunteering with these brave men and women again in the future. It is always heartwarming to see the impact that I have on individuals – especially those that helped give us our freedom. This month is Red Cross month, and I feel absolutely honored to be a part of the American Red Cross commitment to providing services to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Getting involved with the American Red Cross was the best decision that I have ever made, and I am blessed to be able to do so much for Services to the Armed Forces and see the immeasurable power of volunteering positively impact our American heroes.