When our Knights and Dames arrived at the shelter the atmosphere was a bit glum but when they left it was full of joy and camaraderie for the veterans as well as for members of the Order of Malta.
Up went the flags of the military services and the red, white and blue balloons. The serving tables were covered in red with miniature flags.
Lanel Dominique, the assistant manager, asked that our Knights and Dames introduce the organizing team to the residents with applause.
Then the residents put on their gloves and entered the conference room to find stacks of mouth-watering ham, delicious mac & cheese, tasty salad and dinner rolls with plenty of butter. Many eagerly came back for 2nds and 3rds. After the main courses, they returned for sweet-smelling apple crisp ala mode followed by 2nds, etc.
The veterans' recognition ceremony after dinner was really special. As each of the 18 residents who were veterans were called up to be recognized, Joel O’Driscoll, KM presented them with an attractive pin, thanked them for their service to our country, and asked each of them about their service experience. They returned to their seats with applause. They seemed to be standing a little taller.
The Bingo games were spirited with the residents rooting for their friends to get that one last spot on the card filled. The oldest resident, a Vietnam War veteran, was the first Bingo winner.
It was great to be able to serve the residents indoors again and visit with them personally as our members had done in pre-COVID times.