GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Residents at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans will now be able to keep in touch with family and friends this holiday season thanks to a generous donation.
On Thursday, the American Legion Riders Post 179 from Grandville donated 11 computers complete with webcams and headsets so the veterans can video chat, watch movies and surf the web.
The American Legion Riders raised all of the money for the computers from their annual memorial ride over the summer. They say presenting the veterans home with the electronic was an incredibly humbling experience.
"We were able to bring 11 computer units here, including 27 inch screens for anybody that might have vision problems and webcams so that they can Skype with family members that might not be able to visit," said Joe Mosketti, assistant director for Post 179.
Mosketti says 100 percent of the proceeds raised from the 2016 Veterans Memorial Ride helped raise money for the computers: a small gesture of thanks for those who have served our country.
"We are extremely humbled by this experience and we just feel honored that we get to be a part of this," said Mosketti.
"This is huge," said Tiffany Carr, director of relations for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. "These walls have a lot of life and a lot of Christmas spirit right now, especially with all of our community coming together to make sure these veterans have a very merry Christmas."
The new computers are replacing some of the current ones at the home, which are about nine years old and out of date.
"It will also give them some ability to relax, play some games, watch some movies, videos, read the news online and even maybe file some of their paperwork that they need," said Mosketti.
Things like this aren't in the home's budget, but Carr says donations like this are what make this home a home.
"Things like this that go above and beyond, really impact our lives on a daily basis," said Carr. "They are things that come from our community and donors and that's really our role, to make sure our community here fulfills the needs of those not just to make this a place to live, but a home."
The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans says they always welcome donations, especially for the holidays. Volunteering time to sit and talk with the residents is helpful, as well. The American Legion Riders are already planning their ride for next summer and collaborating with the home on what to get them next.
The next Veterans Memorial Ride is planned for June 3, 2017.