Heritage Woods of Rockford recently paid a visit to the Veterans Drop-in Center, providing and serving lunch to the veterans, many of whom visit the center daily.

It was a great time for some of our resident veterans to share a meal and memories with the regulars of the center.

We couldn’t help but notice how comfortable Jim Crout, our Maintenance Director, was serving up food, only to find out that “giving back” is really something that gives him joy and purpose. He’s gained plenty of experience volunteering at the local food kitchen in his hometown over the years.

When I asked our residents what they thought of their visit, they all said they were impressed.

“I have a lot of admiration for the lady (Pat Ambrose) who started the organization and keeps it going,” said Percy Muender. “It obviously fills a need. Even the postman stops in for lunch!”

Another resident Jerry Frye said he thought the center was a great way to repurpose what had been a condemned building.

Jim Campbell told me that he loves that there is a place in our community where veterans can come together to share their war stories.

The Veterans’ Drop-In Center in a non-profit organization that was started in 2009 when a group of caring, compassionate people decided that veterans from the Rockford area and their families needed a place to gather. The Center offers a variety of amenities to meet the veterans needs, including lunch and dinner every day, camaraderie with their peers, computer classes, haircuts, music, and assistance with veterans services and game nights. These services are all free and made possible with the help of volunteers and fundraisers.

While this was our first time to volunteer here, it won’t be the last. Our visit was fun, rewarding, and a return trip is definitely in our future.