Heartland Hospice Helps Ensure Veterans are Remembered During the Holidays
For the seventh year in a row, Heartland Hospice serving North Central Illinois and Southern Wisconsin has partnered with the Rockford Charter Chapter of Vietnam2Now to collect blankets, socks and cookies for their "Christmas for Veterans" program. Created by Vietnam2Now Chaplain, Bob Theroux, the program has been bringing holiday cheer to local veterans for the past 18 years. Each year, Pastor Bob collects and delivers blankets, white socks and Christmas cookies to veterans in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Northern Illinois.
What started out as a two-person project for him and his wife has turned into a huge effort by dozens of volunteers to deliver gifts to over 1,500 veterans each year. "It's just great to hear the veterans and their stories. They love when we come because some of them have no visitors at all," explained Pastor Bob.
Heartland Hospice has helped support the cause since 2012 by hosting a "Christmas for Veterans Open House" for community members to drop off their donations. The open house gives community members a chance to meet Pastor Bob and other members of Vietnam2Now and get a true understanding of the effect their donations have on the veterans.
"The 'Christmas for Veterans' program brings so much joy to our community's veterans. We're happy to help them by hosting the open house and we enjoy the opportunity to visit with the community members as they enjoy a chili lunch," said Janine Idstein, Care Transition Coordinator and Veteran Liaison with Heartland Hospice.
This year, over 50 people dropped off donations, some from office-wide collections. Heartland Hospice was able to deliver four full carloads of blankets, socks and cookies to Pastor Bob for the program.
To read the WTVO 17 News article, click here.