Red Cross holds celebration for veterans in the Northern Shenandoah Valley

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The American Red Cross reminded veterans of their partnership with the U.S. Armed Forces with an early Veterans Day celebration on November 9.

The Red Cross kicked off their second annual event at Jim Barnett Park in Winchester with a blood drive.

“We’re hosting a blood drive and we’ve invited the veterans in the area to come have lunch with us,” said Lisa Wilt, donor recruitment manager for the American Red Cross.

Veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War gathered for a free lunch provided by Gore’s Meats and reminisced on their days in the service. 

Members of the Red Cross even got into historic nurses uniforms, like Leslie Caliva in her WWII uniform, to give a history lesson on the Red Cross’ long-standing partnership with the armed forces, dating all the way back to the Spanish American War.

“We have had a long-standing history of being part of supporting […] those who were taken out of the fight. Those wounded and missing soldiers are so important. But today it’s bigger than that,” said Caliva, who’s husband is a Korean War veteran. “We’ve served through every armed conflict with our folks on the ground serving with our troops. We have people in Kuwait and Afghanistan right now.”

Wilt echoed Caliva’s sentiments.

“We are a huge supporter of our veterans, when they are overseas and need to get home for whatever reason,” she said. “We get them home, we make that happen. The Red Cross does. So we are so much more than just blood.”

But blood is still important. Wilt says there is a shortage of blood donations at a time when it is in high demand.

“We are short due to Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, the unfortunate shootings in Pennsylvania recently,” she said. “We need sponsors and we need donors.”

To find a blood drive near you, go to the Red Cross’ website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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