On the morning of September 26, 2018, a few members of the Allawadrick Area WMS along with Pastor Meredith Hudson, Dickerson A.M.E. Church, Frostburg, MD, visited the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. We donated much needed toiletries and visited with some of the hospitalized veterans.
Under the leadership of our Area Chair Person, Sister Anna Gibson, we established three major mission projects for this year: “Children Are Our Future, Senior Citizens Are Our Legacy, and Veterans Are Our Protectors.” In May of this year we had a successful fund raiser event with the help of our missionaries and those that supported us by purchasing dinners. The funds raised from our annual dinner sales provided monetary resources that were applied to our major mission projects.
Wanting to do something different from the previous year, we tossed around various ideas, and were led to contact the VA Medical Center. We spoke with Terri Martin, the Voluntary Service Specialist, who provided us with a list of items that were urgently needed to help the inpatients. Our hearts were profoundly touched when she shared that a female inpatient had asked for a feminine toiletry item and they had nothing to give her.
When we arrived at the Medical Center with a renewed urgency to help, we placed the items on a cart (10 men’s body washes, 18 shaving creams, 10 deodorants, 120 razors/razor blades, 17 toothpaste and 240 feminine hygiene items) and within a blink of the eye the outpatient veterans had formed a line to receive the items and a couple had already helped themselves. We had to explain to them that the items would be handed out through the Voluntary Services Office. At that moment in time we again understood that we must continue to support our veterans.
We took time to take a few pictures before the donations were carted to the Voluntary Services Office for distribution to the inpatient veterans. An Ambassador of the Medical Center escorted us while we visited with some of the veteran inpatients. They told us about their current struggles, their past and where they hope to be when they get out of the hospital. Pastor Hudson offered prayers for those who desired so. What it means to be a missionary resonated so deeply within us as we went from room to room, offering words of encouragement and hope. To our surprise we met people who were part of the A.M.E. Connectional Church. We met a veteran who was once part of the security team at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, and he spoke fondly of Pastors Grainger and Jo Ann Browning. We also met a veteran who was related to someone at Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church. And as we were finishing visiting the last inpatient, we met the Chaplain, Catherine N. Crosby, BCC, M.Div., who was formerly in the 5th Episcopal District in San Diego, California before relocating to this area.
As we left the VA Medical Center, we reflected on all that our eyes had seen, our ears had heard, and the entire experience. We all agreed that this was truly a humbling experience, and that we must continue to support our veterans.
Pictured: Pastor Meredith Hudson, Patricia Jackson, Janet Foreman, Terry Stotler (Chief of Voluntary Services), and Michele Hudson.