In The News
May 21, 2013

Making veterans’ rooms a true home


Garland Humphries, a Navy veteran,  was  delighted  Friday with the final results of the decorating effort in his room at the William  R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home.

The volunteers responsible- Calandra Hypolite, Beth Keener and Jane Avila, all employees at the Olin E.  Teague Veterans’ Medical Center — were equally pleased.

Volunteers from the VA have been decorating rooms at the veterans home for some time.

Staff at the veterans home talk with residents to determine if they would like their room to be beautified and try to learn what theme the veteran would prefer. Humphries went with Navy.

Hypolite, Keener and Avila all indicated they are happy to take over from there because it gives them an excuse to shop.

Humphries joined the Navy as a 17-year-old and served from 1943 to 1946 on the battleship USS Pennsylvania.

“I tried to get in when I was 16,” Humphries said.

He grew up in the Abilene area and moved to the veterans home more than a year ago from Clifton.

“Are they celebrating something today?” he asked, as the women pulled out a pink tool kit to begin their project.

“Just you,” Avila said.

Hypolite, Keener and Avila made up his bed with new sheets and a bedspread in a Navy motif. They hung pictures on the wall and small fabric wall hangings over Humphries’ bed.

“Y’all would be surprised, every time I turn around they’re doing something for you,” Humphries said.

As the women showed him the prints they were going to hang on the walls, Humphries would give his approval.

His only dissent came when he saw a vintage print of a sailor; he would have preferred a picture of a woman.

“They didn’t have women in the Navy when I was in,” Humphries said.

The VA volunteers have been involved in the decorating project since 2011 and have embellished some rooms using University of Texas, circus and military items.

The next room on the agenda will have a nature theme. The project is fun, Avila said.

“I’m a veteran, and this is one way I can give back,” Hypolite said. “Who knows, myself or one of my family members might someday be a resident at a state veterans home, and I hope there will be someone around to do something like this for me or my relatives.”

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