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McVille Gift Shop (2)Ole Semling Unit 135, McVille Members attend the Lisbon Gift Shop

At a very dark hour of the morning, well, 7 AM in December is dark, five members of Ole Semling Unit 135 American Legion Auxiliary, from McVille, boarded a warm Senior Citizen’s Bus and headed to Lisbon, ND to attend and volunteer at the Annual Gift Shop for veteran’s. The driver was courteous and the chatter was endless, and by shortly after 9 AM, we rolling into the beautiful Lisbon Veterans Home and were met with warm wishes and hot coffee and goodies.

There wasn’t a minute to spare, as veterans were already lining up and anxious for their turns to stroll or be wheeled down the long isles of wonderful gifts assembled to choose from. Eager helpers (ALA members from all over ND) greeted each veteran and took his or her ‘wish list’ of gifts and they started the process of picking out a gift for family members and one for themselves. There was joy, tears, thankfulness, and much conversation going on as each ‘personal shopper’ and veterans shopped the many tables line with gifts ready to be chosen from.

Mrs claus (2)After the prefect gifts were picked out, the gifts were taken to more tables with ‘happy elves’ that wrapped the gifts in Christmas paper and each was labeled for shipping purposes. Then onto another table for shipping-paper-wrapping process. Large carts of packages lined the room when the day was over, with brown-paper-wrapped gifts to be shipped to loved ones of the veterans. Veterans were treated to Christmas baking and all kinds of goodies as the finishing process happened to their gifts.

What a wonderful scene this was and what a great feeling of accomplishment to help these special veterans get ready for the Christmas season with no cost to any of them. Some were just overwhelmed with that fact, and shed many tears and hugs with helpers and staff.

When the shopping and wrapping was complete, a lovely lunch was served to the volunteers and the McVille Crew again got on the bus and shared many heart-warming stories as we headed back to McVille. This experience is one that everyone should experience during this season of giving. Doing for others what they can’t do for themselves is truly a highlight in the Christmas Season.

God Bless these veterans that so willingly served our country.

Margaret Johnson, Judy Johnson, Rosile Naas, Pat Enstad and Judy Twete (AKA Mrs. Claus).

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