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Time-Sensitive, please read asap, to help honor our veterans

Original post made by Carrie Manley, Midtown, on Nov 11, 2012

Hi All,

As of of you may know, for the past few years, we've had a neighborhood grass-roots tradition of taking customized gifts up to the VA Spinal Cord unit at the Palo Alto VA. This year, I'm on anti-biotics for a bit of an ear infection, and the doctor says this is one gift that I cannot take into the VA to share with our vets! So, this year, as I have to step back due due to illness, I am so grateful that the next generation is so kindly and eagerly stepping up. I couldn't be prouder, in fact.

Paly junior Grace Grignon, Paly sophomore Will Goncher, and Menlo School sophomore Eric Luxenberg and several friends have generously decided to carry the banner for the cause this year to thank our veterans. At 10:00am tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 12 they are meeting here at our house, (764 Marion) to caravan up to the VA Hospital, where at 10:30am, they will join VA Recreational Therapist Tom McCarthy to go from room to room, handing out donated gifts to the veterans. Thank you, Grace, Will, Eric and friends!!

If you know of another young person who would like to join in this effort, please email me at

Do you have something you could contribute for the kids to give out? We would greatly appreciate your help in this grassroots effort!
Below is a list of some ideas, but anything you can think of, is okay by us!
1) Decks of cards
2) Chocolate
3) Giants "World Series" Commemorative magazines
4) Fresh flowers in small vases (Karen at Nature's Alley in mid-town Palo Alto, across from Longs, is eager to help with this effort!)
5) sugarless candy (for Diabetics)
6) home-made cards
7) aviation, fishing, car, sports and other hobby magazines
8) art supplies, colored pencils, pads of drawing paper
9) home-baked cookies, (or store-bought!)
10) Did I mention chocolate?
11) home-made or store-bought cards, saying thank you, in your own words
12) some pens
13) book marks
14) gently-used coffee-table or paper-back books
15) jig-saw puzzles
16) cupcakes
17) homemade signs or banners that the youth volunteers can hang up to decorate a veteran's hospital room
18) I-tune gift cards for music or movies
19) play dough or stuffed animals--some of the veterans have children or grand-children comThake visit them, and they love to have gifts that they can share with their loved ones
20) salty snacks, like chips or pickles, since not everyone is a "sweets" person
21) a cash donation, that we can use to purchase small items like the ones on this list!

Those are just a few ideas... but what can you think of? Feel free to add to the list, and feel free to drop off anything between now and 9:30am tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 12th at 764 Marion Avenue, just east of Middlefield, and south of Oregon Expressway. There's a drop-off box ready for your much appreciated donations!

Recreational Therapist Tom McCarthy said it would be great if we could come up with enough stuff for 35 veterans in the Spinal Cord unit... but the truth is, there are many, many more veterans who will be spending this Veterans day in our VA hospice and hospital units in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. If it turns out that we get more than we need for the Spinal Cord unit, we'll figure out make more deliveries--and that's a promise!

The main point is that in this case, as in so many other life situations, it's not the specific gift--and it's the thought that counts. The gift provides the opportunity to walk into a hospital room and say thank you. It's the thought--and the action of showing up--that really count. These veterans showed up for our country, time and time again, and tomorrow, with your help, our kids will show up to say thank you.

A big thanks to the VA, and especially to Tom McCarthy, for making this opportunity possible.

And to everyone, sincere thanks, for all you do not just Veterans Day, but every day to help our community. It all adds up and makes a difference!

Comments (5)

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Thank you Carrie, for taking on this responsibility! May all the good karma come back to yu for yur graciousness.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Such a great cause... will be dropping items off!

Like this comment
Posted by Carrie Manley
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

Big thanks to the Veterans Day elves (known and unknown) who brought many gifts through the night: raisins, Milano cookies, wool hats, Mr. Potato Head toys, Goldfish crackers, notepads, mounds of paperback books, and much more.

Special thanks to eight year old Brendan, who wrote the following letter, to be delivered this morning:

"Dear Veteran,
I hope you are having a great Veterans Day! Thank you for making our city good.
Your friend,

We're still collecting donations this morning, until 10am, at 764 Marion, and then the teen volunteers will head up for bedside deliveries at the Spinal Cord unit at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital.

If we end up with any extras, we will share with the hundreds of veterans who attend the annual Holiday Crafts fair at the VA hospital auditorium, Wednesday, Dec. 5th. This is a wonderful event organized by VA Recreational Therapist Tom McCarthy, and to learn more about how you can help at the fair, or sing carols on Christmas morning at the VA, just call the VA hospital, (650) 493-5000, and ask for Tom McCarthy in building 7.
Thanks again to everyone for your donations and support for our veterans. Most of all, thank you, veterans!

Like this comment
Posted by Carrie Manley
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

Quick update on this item: a total of 8 teen volunteers, from Gunn, Paly, Menlo School and JLS went to three units at the VA hospital yesterday delivering your donated gifts and cards. The students were there for five hours! A big thank you to Grace, Will, Eric, Harry, Michaela, Ellen, Maddie and Maggi!! You are all awesome!! Also, thank you to two of the VA's finest: 4C Head Nurse Scott Sutorius and Building 7 Recreational Therapist Tom McCarthy for being so generous with your time, and for being such tremendous role models. Thanks, also to Brendan, Sarah and Jonathon for your beautiful home-made cards and letters. And thanks, too, to Karen at Nature's Alley in Mid-town for, once again, supporting this effort with the most lovely flowers, so appreciated by all the veterans. And to all the friends, known (Regina!!) and unknown, thank you for dropping off such thoughtful gifts. The teens loaded up three carts of presents, thanks to you! Also, thanks to our two volunteer drivers, Patti and Sue, for getting the teens up to the hospital on time for their Veterans Day deliveries! We couldn't have done all this without you! And one last sweet thank you: whoever made those brownies--they were a big hit!! Thank you!

If any of you would like to join in this on-going neighborhood effort to support our hospitalized veterans, please save the date: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. Karen at the local floral shop, Nature's Alley (across from Long's) is hosting our 2nd annual "Holiday Flowers For Our Vets" party! Come make a bouquet, draw a card, and join in the fun! And those of you who are interested/available, you are then invited to make bedside deliveries to the VA hospice and hospital. Rumor has it some jolly guy in a red suit will be leading the way. For more information, please call Karen at Nature's Alley, (650)326-3632.

Thanks again, to all, for your help in supporting our Veterans Day efforts! Thank you, teens, and thank you, veterans!

Like this comment
Posted by Scott Sutorius
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm

The teens and Carrie were awesome yesterday (Monday, observed Veterans Day). The cards, gifts and kind words to the vets were thoughtful and certainly well received. But it was the generosity of spirit and time that touched the vets on 4C. The teens, even after four hours of visiting over in bulding 7, still paused and took the time to listen to the stories and little 'pearls' that some of the vets shared. More than one vet said afterwards that they feel like the country is going to be okay and in good shape since it will be in the hands of people like the ones who visited them on this day of remembrance and appreciation. Thank you for being yourselves, and for bringing sunshine into our hospital community.

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