News / USA

'Decorate a Vet' Helps Military Families on the Holidays

'Decorate a Vet' Helps Military Families on the Holidaysi
|| 0:00:00
X
Deborah Block
December 08, 2012 2:21 PM
The holiday season is typically a time for giving. A small, non-profit group in northern Virginia, called Decorate a Vet, is doing its part by helping local U.S. military veterans and their families. Groups of volunteers spruce up the homes of veterans and disabled soldiers, and then decorate them for Christmas. VOA's Deborah Block has the story about spreading holiday cheer.
Deborah Block
The holiday season is typically a time for giving.  A small, non-profit group in northern Virginia, called Decorate a Vet, is doing its part by helping local U.S. military veterans and their families.  Groups of volunteers spruce up the homes of veterans and disabled soldiers, and then decorate them for Christmas.

The volunteers do everything from fixing patios, to clearing out tree branches, to mulching garden beds.  Then they put up Christmas decorations.  
 
Today, they're working at the Spraul family's house.

Angela Spraul and her husband are both in the military, but he is disabled.  It means a lot to her to have the volunteers helping her family.

"The girls love the holidays," said Spraul.  "They're young.  It's really nice to be able to do something fun for them and have the help.  Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to do this."

Her husband, Wes, is suffering from a painful genetic spinal cord disorder.  

"I think it's unbelievable that other people are so passionate about helping other people out," Wes Spraul added.

Volunteer Mary Thiebault, whose son is in the military, came to support the Sprauls.

"It's exciting to see that a family will have such joy for the holiday season," Thiebault said.

Jeff Jones, founder of Decorate a Vet, says that's the spirit of his organization.  Jones is not a veteran, but his father and grandfather were in the military, and he wanted to honor their memory.  

"I think it's important to clean the outside of the homes and decorate for Christmas because it's the time of year when people are trying to give back, and it also happens to correspond with the time of year when houses are starting to look a little sloppy with leaf debris," Jones explained.

Wayne Parks and a group of colleagues from his workplace helped out by clearing out overgrown trees at the home of a woman with three small children whose husband is serving overseas.

"They need all the help they can get, especially when our servicemen are far away and can't help out their families back at home," Parks noted.  "This is just our way of giving back a little bit the best we can."

Sadly, one WW II veteran did not live to see his home spruced up because he had passed away three weeks earlier.  His widow, Carol Keister, was amazed at all the work the volunteers had done at her home. Keister says the decorations lifted her spirits.

Decorate a Vet is the only program of its kind helping veterans in the United States. But founder Jeff Jones says he would like to see his idea spread across the country, and to help veterans of other nations as well.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid