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Local veteran honored at Courtyard

Posted on March 19, 2019

VFW holds monthly ceremonies at area nursing homes

By Madeleine Leroux
Managing Editor

Local veteran John Gaines received a small surprise Monday — he was given a small American flag by representatives of the local VFW to thank him for his service to the United States.

Gaines, a resident of Courtyard Health & Rehabilitation, said he served in the U.S. Army in 1968. On Monday afternoon, he and several other residents gathered to listen to a performance by The Marysville Singers before representatives of the local VFW came in to set up cookies, ice cream and drinks. Then, Marilyn Pepper and Pat Qualls, both of the VFW, went to present the flag to Gaines.

Qualls said the VFW goes to a different area nursing home each month to honor the veterans who live there. Each veteran gets a flag, while everyone gets refreshments and entertainment. Qualls said the VFW will go to Timberlane Health & Rehabilitation next month and in May will head to Hudson Memorial Nursing Home. She said they take the summer months off, then start right back up again in fall.

“(The events) honor the veterans for what they did for our country,” Qualls said.

She said her late husband served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Qualls, who has lost the majority of her sight, organizes the monthly events and spent Monday afternoon’s festivities with her dog, Sadie, seated quietly in her lap. She said Sadie is like her baby and is with her almost everywhere she goes.

In addition to working with VFW Post 2413, Qualls said she helped to found S.I.G.H.T. (Sight Impaired Group Help Team), which celebrated its 29th anniversary on Sunday.

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 870-862-6611 or

Photo by Madeleine Leroux/News-Times

Thank you: Pat Qualls, right, hands a small American flag to U.S. Army veteran John Gaines, left, at Courtyard Health & Rehabilitation on Monday. Qualls is holding her dog, Sadie, who accompanies Qualls almost everywhere. Qualls works with the local VFW to organize monthly events honoring veterans at local nursing homes.