The 42 residents at Herbert Grigg Home for the aged will sleep comfortably because of the generous donation of pillows and pillow protectors given by members of the Enrique Romero Nieves American Legion Post 102 in December. The pillows will help the bed-bound residents find relief in their pressure points and the pillow protectors will help control infections, according to Lorna E. Davis, R.N. at Herbert Grigg, who said they really appreciate the pillows.
Post 102 Cmdr. Annie Day Henry pulled a cartload of pillows up the gaily decorated sidewalk of the home to place under the Christmas tree in the community room. Carrying arm-loads full of pillows were 17-year-old Othneil Drew, 8-year-old Elijah Chambord and 10-year-old Marciella Heywood, members of the V.I. Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Youth Aviation Club. Also helping make the delivery was Cenita Heywood, Post 102 judge advocate/adjutant and advisor of the Aviation Club.
"The spirit of the season is to give and not receive," Henry said. "In the spirit of Christmas we have adopted the home for our gift giving. Sometimes the elderly are forgotten and many don't have family around. We want to make a difference in seniors' lives. The Legion members do things like this to make the community a little brighter."
Henry said she asked Anna Valez-Martinez, executive director at Herbert Grigg, for a wish list and the pillows were at the top of the list. The Legion also gave pillow cases. Henry said in the past they have given socks, personal items and toiletries, and have also done painting and repairs. The funds for the pillows came from dues and fundraising efforts, such as raffles and a roast pork sale held during the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship celebrations. "We're fortunate Sen. Hansen allocated funds from her budget for the American Legion," Henry said. "For us, that's a lifesaver." She added Post 102 has only been in existence for 11 years and its budget for giving isn't very big. Henry said she really appreciated the local merchants giving the Legion discounts on the pillows they purchased.
Henry added that the four pillars of the Legion are doing community outreach, partnering with children, home safety and security, and advocacy for veterans. She said by giving the gifts Monday, they are meeting two of the goals: community outreach and partnering with children. Deborah Johnson, vice commander at Post 102, said it makes her proud and warms her heart to help the seniors. "It gives me goosebumps thinking about the giving," Johnson said. "We want to make sure the seniors are taken care of. We never know; we may end up here one day."
"There are a lot of things needed here at Herbert Grigg," Valez-Martinez said. "We always need over- the-counter medicine. The public can make donations and specify what the donation is for at all of the local pharmacies." She added they really appreciate what the Legion has done for the residents. Davis said she wishes people would come more often to visit family members who are residents. "The residents really appreciate all visitors," she added.
The home is a V.I. government facility under the Department of Human Services. The home's budget comes from the local government's General Fund. The facility is staffed 24 hours a day to provide two levels of care: long-term medical and intermediary. The home currently has 42 residents.