By Rose L. Thayer
Fort Hood Herald
TEMPLE - Miss Texas shared the love with hospitalized veterans on Valentine's Day during a visit to the Olin E. Teague Veterans' Medical Center on Feb. 14.
"I'm so glad to be here today and to see so many people here showing gratitude to veterans," said Kendall Morris, of Ennis. Morris placed in the top 10 of the Miss America pageant last month.
About 20 local organizations and schools joined her in passing out valentines and goodie bags to more than 300 hospitalized and resident veterans.
"They don't do it for the glory," said Morris. "They do it for duty, honor, country and their own families."
Morris' visit marked at least the 20th year the hospital has hosted Miss Texas, said Bob Zimmerman, chief of voluntary services at the medical complex.
"We invite the community to come out and see our veteran patients," he said. "It lets them know that they're here and see their faces and what we're about."
Zimmerman said veterans in the hospital appreciate special visitors. "They tell me all the time, 'Don't stop. Keep visitors around.'"
Kenneth Womble, an Elm Mott resident and former Navy pilot, said the Valentine's Day visitors were great.
"I think it's really exciting," said the hospital patient. "Man, does it brighten up the day."
Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, also was at the hospital to thank veterans and those who volunteered to pass out valentines.
"It's always a real treat to be back among fellow veterans," said Birdwell, a retired lieutenant colonel. "Tell them that you love them and their service to the country as much as they loved serving the nation."
Contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.