HOLTVILLE — Their memories might be faded now long after challenges in the armed services, but the elderly veterans at Blossom Valley Inn in Holtville brighten up with recognition when visited by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 138.
arrived early on Dec. 13 for the handful of Korean- and Vietnam-era veterans
remaining at the Blossom Inn as the Auxiliary treated them to a pizza lunch and
donated baskets brimming with holiday treats.
Granillo, who spent 20 years in the Army, was clearly pleased when Karen Gibbs,
Auxiliary president, and Hanna Nilsson, first vice president, arrived carrying pizzas
donated by George’s Pizza and sodas donated by Sun Community Federal Credit
several slices of pepperoni pie and a pop Granillo had the contented look of
Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat but admitted he liked the caramel sauce ice cream
really full now,” said Granillo as he rolled his wheel chair out to
Blossom Inn’s outdoor quad. “I like to smoke outside. I have little
tolerance for crowded rooms with lots of people. But my roommate shares his
downloads of classic TV programs and we like to watch Bonanza (a 1960s
she thinks the now annual Christmas and Easter holiday lunch visits to Blossom
Valley are a wonderful ritual.
can show love and support and how much we care for the veterans,” she
said. “We lost a few from our first visit and some may not be around in
years to come. But they really enjoyed the pizza and other treats and it was
fun to see the smiles on their faces.”
another Auxiliary member, explained it was an honor to serve the vets.
was so refreshing to hear their stories because they have so many to
tell,” she said. “They obviously enjoy our visit and you can tell
it’s up-lifting for them.”
Wilson, another Auxiliary member, “Once we got all the vets downstairs to
the table it went smoothly. They’re such sweethearts and very appreciative of
anything you give them and that makes us feel good.”
Pasillas, 60, who wears his age extremely well, was an Air Force aircraft
maintenance veteran who served in the mid-1970s. He is disabled due to hand
problems. His family sends him boxes of food and clothes from time to time but
he could still use some shampoo, bar soap and would like some candy if
enjoyed the pizza but the soda (lemon lime) was best,” he said. “I
really like to stay outside and have a smoke.”
to go far away to do his service, Gary Searl was in the Army stationed near San
Diego in the 1970s. He also played in the offensive backfield of the Holtville
High School Vikings football team. When he is not playing dominoes at Blossom Valley
he enjoys watching baseball, basketball and sometimes hockey on television.
treat me well here,” he said. “The lunch was marvelous. I loved the
strawberry ice cream.”
enjoyed the pizza, Alejandro Cota, an Army staff sergeant special forces
veteran, said he really preferred the refried beans and the ice cream. He has
been at Blossom Valley five years and especially likes his private room.
Zaragoza, an American Legion Post 138 member and visitor to the vets at Blossom
Valley, explained the lunches are as rewarding an experience to visitors as they
are for the residents. He noted a couple of veterans were emotionally moved
when he thanked them for their service.
have to let the entire community know about the veterans at Blossom Valley
Inn,” he said. “They have stories to tell–they’re not just sitting
in a corner. They’re kind of quiet at first, but once I introduced myself, they
begin to open up. It’s always interesting to hear their tales.”