Staffers Humbled by Annual Visit to State Veteran Home
Story by Cooper Nelson
Photos by Darryl Webb and Seth Israel
GCU News Bureau
Tim Kane gifts a single 82nd Airborne Division challenge coin to a veteran each time he visits the Arizona State Veteran Home.
On Tuesday, he received more in conversation than he gave away in coins.
Kane, a Grand Canyon University military enrollment counselor and Army airborne veteran, joined nearly 40 military counselors from GCU’s Tempe and Peoria campuses who visited with retired veterans living under assisted care at the Arizona State Veteran Home in central Phoenix. GCU staffers visited the home as part of an annual Memorial Day event to thank veterans for their service.
Kane served in the 82nd Airborne 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment out of Fort Bragg, N.C. He was shocked Tuesday to meet Veteran Home resident Daniel Boone, a World War II veteran who served in the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment Combat Team — a branch of the Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Division that was disbanded in 1949.
Kane and Boone, separated by more than 50 years of Army service time, spent the majority of the morning sharing combat tales and reminiscing.
“I’m a veteran and got the opportunity to talk to a guy that served in World War II and tie it all into the historical aspect of the military,” said Kane, a former history teacher who serves GCU’s military veteran students from the University’s Peoria office.
After war stories had ended, Kane gave the vet the challenge coin — something he said is considered meaningful by retired veterans.
Tuesday marked the fourth Memorial Day event organized by GCU community relations staffers Jose Moreno and Sussely Morales. The annual event is a way for the University to help brighten veterans’ days, since many rarely interact with anyone outside of the facility located on the Veterans Affairs Hospital campus near Indian School Road and Third Street.
The team of military counselors spent the morning trading stories and getting to know veterans over coffee and doughnuts before breaking into small groups to play wheelchair bowling and poker. Others created patriotic flag stands and sang classic military songs. Residents left the event with smiles, in addition to GCU T-shirts, caps, and dog tags that read “Hero” and “We Salute You.”
“A lot of the time, the veterans just want someone to talk to and share their story with,” Morales said. “So any time they are able to talk and interact with people like today, it’s a good day.”
Contact Cooper Nelson at 639.7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.