Newly Formed Committee Honors Veterans

Resident and Air Force veteran Charlie Kernehan smiles during the Veteran’s Day Celebration

Over 50 veterans reside at St. John’s Home and are eager to get to know one another. Following the Veteran’s Day Celebration held last November, veterans like Charlie Kernehan have been brainstorming ideas to form a committee mimicking the American Legion. The first group gathering was this afternoon as way to gauge the interest of fellow veterans. “Most of us can’t get out to a legion post, so we are trying to see what the interest is here,” states Kernehan, Air Force veteran.

Along with Charlie, Marine veteran Robert Vanvalkenburg also would like to see more activities for veterans. “I think it’s remarkable,” states Vanvalkenburg. “The primary reward is getting to interact with other vets and hear their stories about their time in the war.” With the desire to form a group, therapeutic recreation specialists Ed Keegan and Mandy Duritza are helping to coordinate committee meetings throughout 2019. “We are planning to meet every other month at first to see how things go,” explains Mandy. “If the demand is there, we will continue to make it a regular happening.”

After seeing the emotional impact the celebration induced, Ed, Mandy, Charlie, and Robert met to discuss options for future gatherings. “I think the celebration created a window for veterans to be fully engaged,” states Ed. “Now they want to be around other people who went through similar things.” Plans for the new year include a trip to the Vietnam War Memorial right across the street at Highland Park.

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