By CHERIL VERNON
In support of employee wellness month, the Palestine Veterans Affairs Clinic (as part of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System) is hosting a VA2K Walk and Roll event from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Palestine Mall.
“We did our first walkathon last year and had lots of fun. We raised $500 in funds and lots of donations of items for homeless veterans,” local VA2K coordinator Patricia Beckendorf, R.N. said Friday. “We hope to have even more people participate this year.”
Veterans and the public are invited to participate in the event by taking a short walk inside the mall (or outside, participant’s choice) to collect donations to help homeless veterans.
“Participants can either walk, use a walker or wheelchair, walk slow, or stroll,” Beckendorf said. “Plus they do not have to walk, they can simply bring a donation if they want.”
There will be karaoke music, hot dogs (while supplies last), drawings and giveaways.
“We have four baskets that we are going to raffle off and you don’t have to be present to win,” Beckendorf said. “Three of those baskets have a $25 Walmart gift card in them.”
Suggested donations for homeless veterans include new underwear and/or new socks (both male and female), new T-shirts, phone cards, toiletry items, new boots or tennis shoes or cash donations. A voluntary service will be on hand to accept cash donations.
“Work-site wellness activities enhance employee engagement and contribute to a more productive and healthy workforce,” Central Texas Veterans Health Care System Director Thomas Smith said. “We are proud to conduct this VA2K event and are committed to ensuring we have a happy and healthy workforce to serve our veteran community.”
Many other 2Ks are taking place at VA facilities across the country. There is no registration fee, but employees and volunteers participating in the event are asked to donate an item for a homeless veteran. Donations are optional for community participants.
Other individuals and agencies will join the VA2K Walk and Roll. All of the Palestine VA volunteers are helping, and have planned a children’s coloring table with patriotic coloring sheets, to be displayed later at the clinic.
In Palestine, the Veterans Service Office and local veterans groups, including the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars will be participating. Collection boxes for donations will be located in the Palestine Mall and Palestine VA Clinic, so items may be dropped off earlier if desired.
The Palestine VA Clinic is located inside the Palestine Mall at 2000 S. Loop 256.
For more information about the Palestine event, contact Beckendorf at 903-723-9006.