Jr. Auxiliary Girls Bring Gifts, Cheer to Elderly Vets

UTICA, NY, Dec. 7, 2010 -- Two Junior Auxiliary girls at Utica Post 229 tied bows on pairs of socks, created Christmas cards, and then visited four veterans residing at Willow Park Assisted Living Facility on Herkimer Road in Utica on Monday evening, Dec. 6.

“The girls gave each veteran a custom-made Christmas card, a pair of stocks; then they shook their hands and said ‘thank you for serving our country’,” noted Mary Stronach, Auxiliary youth co-chair along with Mary Anne Ciccone.

“The veterans welcomed and hugged the girls, and made them feel very special, just as the girls made the veterans feel special. The veterans were so touched that they kept saying, ‘thankyou-thankyou’.”

The girls -- Isabella Kelly, 7, and Gabriella Kelly, 5 ½ -- ended the evening being treated to pizza by the Auxiliary and talking about how they wanted to visit the elderly veterans again. Accompanying the girls was their mother, Melissa Chiellino.

The veterans were: Kenneth Kowland (Army), Walter Juteau (Marine Corps and the eldest at 96), Lyle Hyman (Marine Corps) and Merrell Washington (Army).

Jr. Auxiliary
Isabella and Gabriella Kelly, as they made Christmas cards.

Jr. Auxiliary
Isabella and Gabriella Kelly, as they visited Army veteran Merrel Washington.

Jr. Auxiliary
Isabella and Gabriella, with World War II veteran Kenneth Kowland.