- Associated Press - Monday, January 1, 2018

PLEASANT VALLEY, W.Va. (AP) - Pam Hillberry drove to Pleasant Valley Elementary School on Dec. 20 expecting one bag of supplies for the veterans in her care.

She had to return the next day in a pickup truck when she saw the students at the school prepared 17 laundry baskets full of supplies to give to the residents of the veterans nursing facility in Clarksburg.

“We had no idea that it was going to be that much - no idea. And that’s probably one of the biggest hauls we’ve ever gotten,” Hillberry, recreation assistant at the veterans nursing home in Clarksburg, said.

Each year, the students in kindergarten through fourth grade at Pleasant Valley Elementary participate in a service project to be taught JOY, or to Just remember Others before Yourself. To complete this project, third-grade teacher Chris Johnson organized with Hillberry and the home to find out what the residents needed.

“We always do a community-service project, and this year we chose the veterans,” Johnson said. “The kids each wrote a thank-you letter to veterans too, Merry Christmas cards.”

Some of the other items needed were slippers, shaving cream, lotion, hair clippers and baby wipes, but the item the kids were most confounded by were nail polish and nail polish remover.

“I know that the kids kind of laughed when we had fingernail polish on the list, and I said, ‘Well there are woman veterans, too.’ I think they didn’t realize that women do it too,” Johnson said. “They have one basket all full of fingernail polish.”

Nevertheless, these were some of the most-collected items, as Johnson was able to fill an entire basket with just nail polish. Other items necessary were sweat pants and blankets.

“The women, they love to have their nails done, and they like to smell pretty,” Hillberry said. “Sweat outfits because they’re easy and they’re warm. Our guys, most of the time they’re cold. You’re roasting over there, but most of the time they’re cold.”

Hillberry expressed appreciation for the donations in a short assembly Dec. 21 before she loaded her truck. The kids had some questions about the veterans in the hospital, but Hillberry explained that they are similar to the kids’ grandparents.

Overall, she was just thankful that the kids were so generous in their donations.

“Some of the veterans really don’t have family. They don’t have visitors come in, and for a lot of them, we’re some of the only family they may have or the only family that comes to visit,” Hillberry said. “We like to spoil them because they deserve it. Without them, where would we be?”


Information from: Times West Virginian, http://www.timeswv.com

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