Students from an Omaha summer school program learned an important lesson in giving back this week when they visited the Omaha VA Medical Center. According to the Omaha World-Herald, 60 students from Beals Elementary FUNdamental Summer School visited the hospital and presented Veterans with handmade crafts.

Cindy Meyer, with Omaha Public Schools, told the World-Herald the summer learning program has been valuable for the students. “These trips make learning fun and it’s real-life experiences for them,” she said. “It’s very hands-on. No one wants to just sit in a classroom all day, especially during the summer.”

Before visiting the medical center, the students learned about recycling and giving new life to recycled jars and cans by hand-decorating them. During the field trip, they gave their recycled crafts – and a few smiles along the way – to Veterans and family members.

“The kids learned to take something and repurpose it,” Meyer said. “They created something designed to bring a smile to someone else’s face.”

The gifts definitely made an impression with the recipients. “It’s a little craft to make and it makes an old boy happy,” said Steve Kimpson, a Griswold, Iowa, resident and Navy Veteran who fought in the Vietnam War.

Summer of Service

Roughly 60 students from the Beals Elementary FUNdamental Summer School visited the Omaha VA Medical Center to give gifts to Veterans and patients there. Photos by COURTNEY BRUMMER-CLARK/THE WORLD-HERALD.

Army Veteran Ed Strickland of Omaha appreciated the effort. “It’s great. Any more, you don’t expect anything like this,” Strickland said. “I love this. I’ll keep it forever.”

The Omaha VA Medical Center staff told the World-Herald that for most Veterans, a simple “thank you” goes a long way. “This is great that they are teaching the youth who Veterans are and what they do,” spokesman Will Ackerman said. “I’m watching the faces of some of these Veterans as these kids come up to them, you see their faces just light up. Something as simple as a candle or a flag does so much for them. It’s really cool.”

Visits by students and other volunteer groups are welcomed by VA medical centers across the country. Many are happening this summer as part of VA’s Summer of Service initiative, which is designed to highlight the work of volunteers at VA and throughout the community. Last year more than 140,000 volunteers gave more than 11 million hours in service to America’s Veterans.

As students in Omaha learned, giving back is important. “I learned about caring for others,” student Amia Ignowski, 7, who will start second grade in August told the newspaper. She thinks Veterans are “good because they (fought) for our freedom.”


VA takes its commitment to care for the nation’s Veterans and their families very seriously, and this summer, we invite all of you to join in that commitment. Community by community, state by state, our nation can work together to serve Veterans during the VA Summer of Service.

  • Look for VA at community events and engage our employees and partners.
  • Reach out to your local medical facility or National Cemetery to find out what you can do to help.
  • Check out #VASummerOfService on Vantage Point, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and join VA in caring for America’s Veterans.


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Published on Jun. 24, 2015

Estimated reading time is 2.8 min.

Views to date: 85


  1. CKDias June 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Living in Vegas and recently went to a luncheon hosted by a quilting club at a local casino and the food was awesome. But the quilts given to myself and other veterans in attendance from Veterans Village were awesome and brought me to tears. I keep my quilt displayed on my bed so I can gaze at its craftsmanship given from the heart. I am sooo blessed to be here amongst other veterans from a variety of eras and we all have a story to tell.

  2. Dennis Wilson June 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I have collected my whole life things that I would need in case of a disaster and I am at a point to where the tools and equipment that I have are just collecting dust. I have a lot of talents and I try and share them with those who want to learn. I have a complete work shop and use it when I can. I can fabricate or repair just about anything that I can get into my shop and have come up with several ideas to help people with disability’s. The first one came to me while my wife was in a rehab center after shoulder surgery it was simple it was a table cloth with pockets that hung down on the side of the bed table when someone has a hard time getting in and out of bed the pockets are for the remote, phone, note pads with pencil and other thing that gets knocked off onto the floor. The aids don’t like coming in to to get something you just dropped. The one I made for my wife has bright colors to brighten up the room. the thing is it took me about 20 minutes to make and you can put it on any table. I also use an electric scooter and my wife has a hard time walking because of her knee joints so I made a little trailer that’s about 2″ off the floor. Its just big enough for her to stand on it and she puts her hands on my shoulders and now when we go to the VA we can get around with out any problems.
    I also do hand tooled leather work that has really amazed everyone who I show the pictures to.
    But alas I’m at a point in my life where my heart acts up every time I try and do something. I know there are a lot of veterans out there that are in the same boat and I wish I could do something that would help them as well.

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