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Vietnam Veterans provide Thanksgiving meals

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley Jake Roberts, at right, president of local chapter 812 of Vietnam Veterans, is shown at this month’s Veterans Day celebration in Elkins. Roberts and his organization raises money each year to help provide veterans and families in need with Thanksgiving dinner baskets. By Edgar Kelley Staff Writer ELKINS — For the past 31 years, the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans has worked tirelessly each holiday season to make sure that those in need have a good Thanksgiving dinner. Chapter 812, which is under the direction of Vietnam vet Jake Roberts, holds a basket giveaway in the Elkins WalMart parking lot each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. “We do this for people in need,” Roberts, who is president of the chapter, told The Inter-Mountain. “We want to help those who are less fortunate. God has been awful good to a lot of us. Sure, we served in Vietnam and a bunch of us are beat-up and shot-up guys. But all in all, it’s been a good life for most of us.” Each year the group spends much of its time raising money to provide funding for the baskets. Toward the end of September, they begin compiling a list of veterans and others in need. Roberts said the organization advertises about the baskets and uses different organizations, including church ministers, to locate those who need help during the holidays. “We don’t do this for guys like me or my buddies who are retired and drawing VA disability,” he said. “This is for the guys out there who are struggling. Or for the wives of vets who have lost their husbands and now they are living on a fixed income with nothing extra. It’s tough for a lot of people, so we make it a point to take care of them.” Roberts said the help is not limited to military veterans and their spouses alone, however, as the organization tries to reach as many people in need as it can each and every holiday season. “We try each year to take care of as many people as we possibly can,” Roberts said. “You get some guys who are working, they’re married and have a couple or three kids. They are busting their tails and doing the best they can, but it just won’t stretch for them to be able to have a good Thanksgiving meal. We are going to help that guy out. If we can make a little brighter day for him on Thanksgiving, that’s why we do it.” In previous years Roberts said the organization has passed out as many 273 baskets during one of its giveaways. The veterans distributed 100 baskets, each containing a turkey and all the trimmings for a Thanksgiving meal, this past Saturday. “We rolled ‘em up and had them all done and handed out in about an hour,” Roberts said. “We had a couple of folks tell us that if we hadn’t done this for them, that they wouldn’t have had anything to eat this Thanksgiving. That just makes you feel good and that’s the reason we raise money all year long for this event.”

ELKINS — For the past 31 years, the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans has worked tirelessly each holiday season to make sure that those in need have a good Thanksgiving dinner.

Chapter 812, which is under the direction of Vietnam vet Jake Roberts, holds a basket giveaway in the Elkins WalMart parking lot each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

“We do this for people in need,” Roberts, who is president of the chapter, told The Inter-Mountain. “We want to help those who are less fortunate. God has been awful good to a lot of us. Sure, we served in Vietnam and a bunch of us are beat-up and shot-up guys. But all in all, it’s been a good life for most of us.”

Each year the group spends much of its time raising money to provide funding for the baskets. Toward the end of September, they begin compiling a list of veterans and others in need. Roberts said the organization advertises about the baskets and uses different organizations, including church ministers, to locate those who need help during the holidays.

“We don’t do this for guys like me or my buddies who are retired and drawing VA disability,” he said. “This is for the guys out there who are struggling. Or for the wives of vets who have lost their husbands and now they are living on a fixed income with nothing extra. It’s tough for a lot of people, so we make it a point to take care of them.”

Roberts said the help is not limited to military veterans and their spouses alone, however, as the organization tries to reach as many people in need as it can each and every holiday season.

“We try each year to take care of as many people as we possibly can,” Roberts said. “You get some guys who are working, they’re married and have a couple or three kids. They are busting their tails and doing the best they can, but it just won’t stretch for them to be able to have a good Thanksgiving meal. We are going to help that guy out. If we can make a little brighter day for him on Thanksgiving, that’s why we do it.”

In previous years Roberts said the organization has passed out as many 273 baskets during one of its giveaways. The veterans distributed 100 baskets, each containing a turkey and all the trimmings for a Thanksgiving meal, this past Saturday.

“We rolled ’em up and had them all done and handed out in about an hour,” Roberts said. “We had a couple of folks tell us that if we hadn’t done this for them, that they wouldn’t have had anything to eat this Thanksgiving. That just makes you feel good and that’s the reason we raise money all year long for this event.”

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