A day of service by the faith community has enriched the lives of veterans while also making life easier for the woman who oversees their daily care.
Thirty-four volunteers from the Opelika, Ala., campus of Church of the Highlands worked July 14 at Loving Touch, The Home for Veterans in Smiths Station. The Opelika campus had more than 650 volunteers working last week at multiple serve projects, said church member Tim Maggart. He said the church’s 17 Alabama campuses had more than 25,000 volunteers taking part in numerous service projects as part of Serve Day 2018.
Maggart, an Army veteran, said it was a way to help the veterans at the home and make things easier for Kathy Brown, the facility’s director.
“She does an amazing job of taking care of these veterans and so we just wanted to do something to help her, “ Maggart said.
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The volunteers painted, installed a screen to the front porch, did yard work and renovated the garage, creating a small exercise room with an adjacent spa-type room.
Brown said there are currently 13 veterans living at the home, which has a capacity for 14. She said the home receives referrals from the Community Residential Care program at The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.
Betty James, the CRC coordinator for the CAVHCS, said Loving Touch is one of 21 such homes in the area that receives veteran referals. Some house only a few veterans, while larger homes in Clanton and Union Springs can each house 20. James said the program dates back to the 1950s.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs website, the Community Residential Care program is for veterans who don’t need hospital or nursing home care, can’t live alone because of medical or psychiatric conditions and have no family members with the ability to care for them. There are approximately 1,300 appropriate different types facilities in the United States that meet this description. They are inspected and approved by VA medical center staff, but chosen by the veterans.
Paul Corley is Army veteran who has lived at Loving Touch for eight years. He described the service project as a Godsend.
“It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful, we needed it so bad,” Corley said.
Brown said she couldn’t have afforded to tackle the projects the volunteers accomplished and keep her focus on the veterans’ care.
“I’m just overwhelmed, “ Brown said, “ It’s as if God showed up and showed out.”