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Guard Gifts Bring Smiles to Veterans

North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs

North Dakota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen serenades veterans with Christmas carols. The caroling was part of the festivities of an annual holiday event honoring the residents of the home. (Army photo/Spc. Angie Gross) 
North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs

LISBON, N.D. 12.18.2009 North Dakota Soldiers and Airmen received Christmas presents in the form of smiles this year from the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon when they delivered gifts as part of their annual journey to bring cheer to residents. Volunteer Guardsmen left Dec. 17 with presents in tow for those who served before them.

One of the volunteer Soldiers, Lt. Col. Rick Smith, said that it was a great example of the Guard coming together to make a difference.

"Our purpose was to make a difference in a Veteran's life. They have sacrificed so much, and it is because of their service to their country that today I am able to wear this uniform and stand for something bigger than myself. I am honored to share stories and time with these individuals who have given so much," Smith added.

The North Dakota Army and Air National Guard alternate the coordination of this popular event each year. Under the leadership of State Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Miller, the Army Guard took the lead this year.

"It's important to remember the Veterans that have served before us," said Miller. "Honoring them and remembering their service and sacrifices on behalf of our nation is the right thing to do. They're true American heroes."

A group of approximately 40 volunteers from both the Army and Air Guard spent the day with the Veterans singing Christmas carols, sharing military stories and creating lasting impressions and friendships. Guardsmen began donating the gifts in October, and then volunteered their time to wrap and deliver the presents.

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