Veterans from the VA Dole Transitional Living Center in Wichita took a step back in time Wednesday as they made a trip to the World War II History Center in El Dorado.
The veterans had an opportunity to look through the museum, take jeep rides and then enjoy pizza before returning to Wichita.
Jim Odom, an Army veteran, enjoyed a ride in the jeep before heading into the museum. He was enlisted from 1968 to 1970, spending two years in Vietnam. He said the jeep ride brought back members of his lieutenant colonel telling him to square away his hat because he would wear it pushed up.
Roger Raymond, Navy and Army veteran, also toured the museum.
Raymond served in the Navy from 1977 to 1983, where he was a hospital corpsman in San Diego. He also served as a medic with the Army in 1986, where he was stationed with a supply unit in Nebraska.
“It was a good learning experience for schooling,” said Raymond, who is still an LPN.
Since injuring his leg, Raymond has been staying at the VA. He said trips like this one make the days better.
He enjoyed the history because his dad and uncle were in World War II, as well as having other family members in the military. Right now he is the last family member to serve.
“I’m impressed,” he said of the museum. “This is awesome.”
Tom Lafayette, an Air Force veteran serving from 1973 to 1989, also enjoyed the museum.
“They put a lot of work into it,” he said. “It’s very well put together.”
Lafayette said he was stationed all over during his time in the Air Force, where he worked as an aircraft mechanic, but his favorite was being stationed in Italy right outside of Verona. He said he enjoyed all of his experiences in the military, as well as the camaraderie.
The final veteran making the trip was Donnie Jones, who served in the Army from 1970 to 1972 and was in Vietnam. He worked in communications repairing radios.
“I enjoyed the museum,” he said. “It was very interesting. It is good history. It is a little before my time but we did it all for a reason.”
Joining them were members of the El Dorado Elks Lodge.
Lodge members had gone over and played bingo at the VA’s TLC Monday evening, something they do each month with the veterans. They also will be going next week to the VA TLC and the hospital with cake and ice cream to celebrate all of the birthdays for the month.
Page 2 of 2 - “We wanted to come down because we are so involved with veterans,” said Nancy McEachern, Elks member.
They also have donated donated such things as lounge pants and house shoes to the VA hospital and TLC.
McEachern said they will take donations of anything the veterans could use and then they will deliver them to Wichita.
Julie Clements can be reached at email@example.com.