• September 23, 2014

Division West soldiers play bingo with veterans

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Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 4:30 am

TEMPLE — To celebrate Memorial Day, members of the 166th Aviation Brigade went to the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple to play bingo with veterans.

According to John Christopher Fischer, veteran and Texas State Veterans Home volunteer, the facility is “not a nursing home; it is a veterans’ home.”

Carolyn Rumfield, activities director for the home, met with brigade commander, Col. Kevin Vizzarri, and Command Sgt. Maj. Glen Vela early on to create the vision for the event. She emphasized the significance of soldier interaction with the veterans.

A common pastime among residents — bingo — allowed soldiers to mingle and swap stories with veterans in an informal environment.

On Memorial Day, the room was packed, and filled with vitality, as veterans, active-duty service members, friends and family, joined together to honor the posting of the colors.

Voices from the crowd could be heard singing along as Sgt. 1st Class Caron Jackson sang the national anthem. A brief question-and-answer portion gave residents the opportunity to learn more about the present-day Army. In turn, the active-duty service members and their families were able to hear stories about things that happened during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The “culminating event,” according to Vizzarri was bingo, and laughter could be heard throughout the facility for the remainder of their stay.

The idea was for the brigade to use Memorial Day to “share the day with the veterans that have come before us,” Vela said.

For Vizzarri, they were there “to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this great nation.”

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