Red Cross Celebrates Holidays with Veterans

The holiday season is a special time for the valued partnership between the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois and the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.

The Red Cross was honored to volunteer at the Lovell holiday party. Veterans like Nathaniel Davenport, who served in Vietnam, enjoyed a children’s choir and dessert, along with the company of friends and volunteers.

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A volunteer, Nathaniel Davenport, and Chaplain Lyle Swanson at the holiday party.

“I hope we never have to do something like that again,” Nathaniel reflected with gravity on his time in the military. But while the children sang, he smiled. “The is the best one so far,” said Nathaniel, “The kids are great.”

Nathaniel sat next to a friend, Chaplain Lyle Swanson, a retired navy chaplain who used to deliver Red Cross messages (an emergency request to contact a service member). One time, he received a Red Cross message himself, telling him that his mother had a stroke. The Red Cross enabled him to get home with enough time to say goodbye to his mother before she passed away.

“It was 32 years ago almost to the day,” said Chaplain Swanson.

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Ralph Barzowcsi and Gloria Cardenas.

Ralph Barzowsci, who also served in Vietnam, was enjoying the festivities with his care companion, Gloria Cardenas. They share meals together and do activities, like go to the mall.

The Red Cross also collected gifts for veteran families in need to make sure their holiday was a special one.

Learn more about both holiday programs in the video below!

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