San Juan Living Center

Ladies Auxiliary member Denise Bailey speaks with veteran and San Juan Living Center resident J.D. Herman Wednesday. Herman was one of eight San Juan residents to receive a Christmas stocking. Seven other veterans at Valley Manor also received stockings thanks to the the Ladies Auxiliary’s efforts. 

Veterans at two nursing homes in town received a welcome visit Wednesday — people bearing Christmas stockings filled with goodies.

Local VFW Ladies Auxiliary members delivered the gifts to San Juan Living Center and Valley Manor for the fourth year in a row.

This year, they brought 15 stockings in total, eight to Valley Manor and seven to San Juan Living Center. They have delivered as many as 30 in recent years, a sign of a decline in the number of living veterans, said Denise Bailey, a member of the Ladies Auxiliary who has organized the event.

“(We do it) because they are veterans, and we need to look after them and take care of them because of what they did,” Bailey said at San Juan Living Center after the stockings were handed out.

J.D. Herman, a veteran and resident at San Juan who now struggles with hearing, was accompanied by Rosie, who he called his “new bride” despite their 70 years of marriage.

“I think it’s just great,” Rosie said. “It’s a good program that helps recognize them.”

“It’s really something else,” J.D. said of receiving the gift.

Almost all of the residents have strong family support, said Nikki Pate, one of the caregivers at San Juan. She said the staff at San Juan has even organized programs to recognize their resident veterans, but it’s not as common for the veterans to receive recognition from people out in the community.

Pate said Herman is normally a resident who doesn’t speak much, but that changed when he received the stocking.

“With J.D., (the Ladies Auxiliary members) have gotten more of a reaction out of him than I’ve been able to see. It’s nice to see,” she said.

Justin Tubbs is the managing editor at the Montrose Daily Press.

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