GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - As many veterans got a chance to get out and enjoy the ceremonies and perks of Veteran’s Day, others who couldn’t even get out of bed got a different kind of thanks.
11 News followed the Western Slope ‘Cooties’ and has more on this group of veterans helping veterans.
Veteran and Cootie John Loring visits the Grand Junction VA Medical Center every Veteran’s Day, to make sure these vets don’t miss out on the thanks they so deserve.
Loring says, "Entertaining vets, visiting vets in the hosp, nursing homes, what have you and we also support the VFW home national home for the widows and orphans of our national veterans.”
The Cooties, as they’re called, are a nationwide group with local branches they call ‘Pup Tents.’
Their main objective is to spread fun and happiness.
"visit, try to cheer the patients up, give em a little bright spot in their day, tell them a few jokes, maybe present theme with a newspaper or some small gift,” Loring says.
He and the other Cooties go room to room visiting veterans, walking with them, bringing them small gifts, cheering them up and especially thanking them.
Vets like Leroy Lewis, who’s seen many a Veteran’s Day, but with a laugh will admit he knows his are numbered.
"I'm 98,” he says. "I think it's nice to just have people come around.”
Leroy had a big smile on his face with all the visitors he had this Veteran’s Day. And with his own wife in a retirement community, says it’s nice to have company.
"It's nice, it's nice, it's nice to know there's appreciation,” he says.
And like all veterans on this day, the Cooties appreciate each other’s company, too.
"Oft times it brings tears to my eyes, and get a little choked up...you know, we're uh, family, it's special," Loring says.
He says regardless of branches, they’re all brothers in arms, but says family or not, we’re all Americans and should all thank those who made this great country what it is this Veteran’s Day.
"Remember your veterans, remember the people that have sacrificed something of their own lives in order for the nation to remain free...freedom, doesn't come free,” Loring says.
There are 14 Cooties in our local Uncompaghre Chapter, they come from all over the Western Slope and pay visits to hospitals and homes all year long.