Local 249 aids hospitalized veterans

By Pat Hayes

Members of Local 249’s Veteran’s Committee presented a $500 check from the union to the Kansas City Veterans Administration Volunteer Services Feb. 14 to provide coffee and undergarments to patients there.

Committee members Dave Grant, Hans Beebe, David Cox, Demetrius Camp, Nathan Chrisman, Tracie Chrisman, Robert Hernandez, Lou Davidson, Diane Bell, Regina Anderson, Michael Herrod, Zach Pridgen and Kory Barber took part in the presentation.

This is the tenth year the Local has donated to the Veterans Hospital on Valentines Day.

This year, due to COVID restrictions, committee members were unable to visit their fellow veterans personally in their rooms as part of the presentation.

Veterans Committee Chair Dave Grant leads a committee of 15 members, five of whom served in combat. Several members of the committee are volunteers who did not serve, but have relatives who are veterans.

Grant, who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, including combat tours in Kosovo and the first Gulf War, hopes to increase the size of the committee to
20 members in coming months. “I’m especially proud,” says Grant, “that many of our committee members who work in the Transit System came out for the presentation even though they were on layoff that week.”

Kansas City VA Medical Center serves veterans in the greater Kansas City area in its main medical center on Linwood Ave. and six community-
based outpatient clinics.

“In March, our committee is making a donation on behalf of the local to Dark Horse Lodge, a combat veterans retreat, in Tennessee,” says Grant. Darkhorse Lodge is a non-profit retreat for combat veterans of all branches to come to relax, fish on Kentucky Lake and communicate with others who have walked in their boots. Once completed, the Lodge will comprise five guest cabins with five bedrooms, each room named for one of the 25 men lost from the Marine
Corps’ Darkhorse unit.

Local 249’s Veterans Committee represents the interest of all active and retired UAW Veterans and their families. The committee is dedicated to advocating for the political and social concerns of veterans. The committee is active year round supporting veterans. Local 249 was an early and key supporter of the Veterans Community Project which built 49 tiny houses for homeless veterans at 89th and Troost. The committee also provides volunteers to staff annual veterans stand downs to aid homeless veterans and places wreaths on the graves of veterans on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day.

“Local 249’s Veterans Committee is a great example of the social service work in the Kansas City area that members of all our committees provide,” says Local 249 President Jason Starr.