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Veterans' Day Celebrations Include Drive Through At Spokane's VA Hospital

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Organizations around the Inland Northwest are celebrating Veterans’ Day today. Spokane’s VA Hospital ordinarily holds a formal ceremony at the Arena. This year, though, it opted for something different.

There was a parade of vehicles in front of Spokane’s Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center on Wednesday. Volunteers and VA staff members such as Bret Bowers routed the vehicles into a drive-through lane.

“You see that we’re masking. We’re trying to social distance so the veterans don’t have to get out of their car. What we’re seeing already is they’re appreciative," he said.


Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR
Organizations such as Operation Gratitude, Second Harvest and the Red Cross were among those giving out packages to veterans.

Appreciative for packages bestowed upon them: boxes of food from Second Harvest, supplies from Operation Gratitude, bags from the Red Cross, given out by volunteers such as Deb Davis.

“These are our standard comfort kits that we give out at disasters, stand downs, veterans’ stand downs. But then we’ve also added some fun stuff in it because, you know, it’s Veterans’ Day," Davis said.

“This is a simple showing of gratitude and support. For some, it could be their chance of being recognized since their service, whether they’re a newbie coming back from Afghanistan or the wars overseas or maybe a Vietnam or Korean War veteran," Bowers said.

"We’re giving out masks too," said James Dean, the chief of voluntary service at the VA Medical Center and one of the organizers of the event. "So, between the face masks, the food pantry stuff, the hygiene items, I think that will take care of a veteran for a day or two.”

In a post-Covid world, Dean says he’d like to continue to do Veterans’ Day events like this as a way to help people who have served their country.

“It’s been pretty popular. At first I was kind of concerned about it because it’s the first time we’ve done this, especially with Covid going on. Everybody’s doing social distancing and got their mask on like we are now and I like it," he said.