It began with April’s vision, our Permanent Supportive Housing Case Manager. She envisioned our veteran families further interacting, bonding, and building comradery. The first event was at Easter, with a bunny hiding eggs among the trees at Brookside Park. The families casually interacted, and the children enjoyed the candy! This small group of HVAF staff agreed it’s a worthwhile endeavor, which led to forming the Veteran Engagement Committee! The committee is unique as it includes staff from Advancement, Housing, Employment, and the Community Center. This collective group brings varying viewpoints but a unified passion. Planning ensued and staff brainstormed our next event for the summer.
Hoping to provide further opportunities for the families, this event would feature delicacies on the grill, games, and face painting! After months of planning, the event was a huge success! There were friendships created, food devoured, and kids transformed as their faces became a canvas from gentle strokes of a paint brush. Even staff got involved as I became a ferocious tiger and Permanent Housing Coordinator Bobby morphed into a stealth Batman.
Property Manager Will – AKA “The Grill Master” – wore a sombrero and added some flair to the burgers with Mexican seasoning and some delicious Mexican street corn as a side. William added hot dogs with chili sauce and the feast was on! The families who attended enjoyed games after the meal. There were jumbo games like Jenga, UNO, and Connect Four. Kids enjoyed old school staples like kickball and corn hole. However, the highlight of the event was the karaoke ballads belted out by the kids who bravely took the stage. Young and confident performers sang and danced with swagger! I was far less successful with my rendition of Roar by Katy Perry, but I had to attempt it – I had become a tiger for goodness’ sake!
Labcorp sponsored this event by providing the food and materials needed for this incredible day. Even one Labcorp employee attended and volunteered at the event with her son. They participated in the games, face painting, and even karaoke! As the time came to wrap up the day’s festivities, the vet families continued to mingle and connect. April’s vision is now reality, and the committee is aware we are just getting started!
Want to help us ensure we can continue providing fun events for our veterans and their families by making a financial gift today!