Veterans in Hood County will soon have an opportunity to socialize and participate in physical activities, even if they have disabilities.
Hood County YMCA Swim Lesson Coordinator Patricia Stewart and her husband, Mike, have created a volunteer-driven organization called Wet Veterans of Hood County. The Y is going to donate its pool and lifeguards so that veterans can participate in pool activities.
Dorothy Kneisel, a member of the Wet Veterans planning committee, said that the group hopes to raise about $6,000 to purchase a special chair to help disabled vets get in and out of the water.
Wet Veterans of Hood County will have a booth near the Wagon Yard during Fourth of July festivities on the square. Group members will provide information about the organization and accept donations.
Mike said it was his wife who came up with the idea.
“Her brother was killed in Vietnam when she was 16,” he said. “She’s always wanted to do something to help out. She just decided it would be a good time to try and do something, and the Y got on board.”
Mike said that the plan is for people who are trained in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to work with Hood County vets, and specially trained workers will assist vets in water exercises. Even child care will be provided during the weekly get-togethers for war veterans who have children.
Anyone wishing to volunteer can call Mike at 817-776-0529. Planning meetings are being held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Acton United Methodist Church.
In addition to a steering committee, volunteers will be needed to: provide snacks for Wet Veterans events; help with child care; provide peer-to-peer interaction (training will be provided); help with fundraisers; help with land-based activities; assist with pool activities (training will be provided); and help with other tasks.
Mike said that the planned kickoff date is Nov. 1. A USO-themed fundraiser is being planned for some time in October.
All volunteers for Wet Veterans will be required to complete a YMCA volunteer application and consent to a criminal background check. Also, all volunteers will be required to a complete a Safe Haven online course through Acton United Methodist Church.
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