Veteran student group delivers care packages, camaraderie to residents of veterans home

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The event's organizer says it was a way to "give back" to older veterans.
The event's organizer says it was a way to "give back" to older veterans.

Nearly two dozen Clemson University students and employees delivered care packages to a nearby veterans nursing home on Saturday — and they brought something younger vets say their older counterparts don't get enough of: recognition.

“We, as younger veterans, often receive a good deal of recognition and appreciation for our service,” said Brennan Beck, assistant director for military and veteran engagement for Clemson and a veteran of the war in Iraq. “I'm not sure how much the community interacts with our aging veterans in nursing homes. I saw this as an opportunity to give back — for our younger veterans to take charge on a project aimed at sharing that recognition and appreciation that we often receive.”

Hundreds of Clemson student veterans, Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets, staff members and students both with and without military ties helped assemble the packages, which included hand-written notes, T-shirts, candy and other gifts. A group of 20 visited the Richard M. Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson, SC, to deliver the gifts and spend time with residents as part of the second annual event.

Residents and staff said the gifts were unlike anything other groups have brought in. But more appreciated than the candy and T-shirts was the conversation.

“We get a few groups coming in to visit us but I've never seen [care packages] like the ones they brought today. It makes me proud,” resident and retired U.S. Marine Cpl. Ray Crocker, 89, told the Clemson Newsstand.  “It's nice for old goats like us to talk to younger people. I'd give them advice, but I didn't take it when I was their age so I don't expect them to take it from me.”