PUEBLO — The JROTC cadets at Centennial High School put together a major project every year, but were struggling to think of one that would abide by all of the COVID-19 guidelines.
“We had a lot of different plans that we couldn’t follow through with, so we decided that this was the best option for us," said Sophomore Ciara Reyes.
The group decided to take retired American flags that had been donated to them, cut out the stars, and give them out to veterans in nursing homes as a way to respectfully decommission the flags, per the U.S. Department of Defense.
Today, they delivered the stars and spoke with veterans with walkie-talkies through a glass wall at the Department of Veteran Affairs Nursing Home in Pueblo. Residents here have not been allowed to have guests inside since last February, almost an entire year ago.
“Our veterans haven’t been out in the community, so to them having the visitors come to the window, talk to them, just share their stories… It’s beautiful," said Interim Manager Debbie Frakes.
2 cadets from Centennial High School’s JROTC program gave veterans in a nursing home stars from flags that needed to be retired, along with a special poem this morning 🇺🇸They communicated through walkie-talkies & speaker phones to thank the veterans for their service. @KOAA pic.twitter.com/jZGp6dckEL— Natalie Chuck KOAA (@NatalieChuck) January 19, 2021
The cadets listened to stories from the veterans and were even able to see old photos of them when they were actively serving. Reyes says she knows what a difficult time right now is to be living in a nursing home facility, isolated from loved ones.
“We just wanted to show these veterans that they’re still appreciated during these tough times.”
The staff at the nursing home encourages anyone, not just family members, to come and visit with their residents, in a socially-safe way. You can schedule a time with Voluntary Specialist Tammy Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.