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Student Veterans of America Chapter Brings Holiday Cheer, Gifts to Grand Rapids Veteran's Home

Student Veterans of America chapterSamantha Parkhouse, a Grand Rapids Home for Veterans staff member (in red check shirt), welcomed Student Veterans of America chapter members from Ferris State University on Sunday, Dec. 8. SVA visitors included (left to right) Robert Sleeseman of Greenville, a Marine Corps veteran studying Radiology, Kristin Wilcox, a Pre-Med student and former Coast Guard member from Canadian Lakes; Nick Iorfida, of Yorkville, Illinois, a veteran of the U.S. Army and an Environmental Biology student; Nina Swanson, of Kent City, a Criminal Justice student and SVA supporter; and Chris Rawson, of Lakeview, a Biology/Pre-Med major, who served in the U.S. Navy. The SVA spent the afternoon with residents in the Red and Blue areas of the home's second floor.

A group of Ferris State University students from the Student Veterans of America chapter volunteered to brighten the lives of residents in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans on Sunday, Dec. 8, as they made a pre-Holiday visit for an afternoon of games and good times.

Kristin Wilcox, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and a Pre-Med student from Canadian Lakes, thanked the collaborators.

“We had a great time playing cornhole and enjoying pizza, and each other’s company,” said Wilcox, the chapter’s spokesperson. “The university’s administration really came through for us, providing Ferris shirts as prizes for our game winners throughout the afternoon.”

Wilcox added that three residents who served in Vietnam and another who was in the military during the Korean War received the SVA’s first valor quilts presented at the home.

“Two women and two men got our initial presentation, and everyone on their floor, another 54 veterans will be similarly honored,” Wilcox said. “We are so thankful for the collaboration with the Old Jail Quilters, who are the Mecosta Quilts of Valor chapter, the makers of our quilts. It is a simple way to demonstrate our support, and thanks for their service.”

Wilcox organized another visit to the Grand Rapids home on Wednesday, Dec. 18, to deliver items offered to the SVA’s annual Holiday Wish List.

“We want to thank everyone who donated packages of socks, battery-powered toothbrushes, fruit up packs and other items for the home’s Free Store,” Wilcox said. “A good portion of our gifts came from the Canadian Lakes area, with the local theatre group, the Canadian Lakes Players taking it upon themselves to help our cause. It was outstanding support.”

Veterans of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps joined Wilcox in the holiday celebration and Wish List drive effort.