American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt and Kansas Department Commander Terry Marr present Kansas Soldiers' Home Superintendent David Smith with a plaque and OCW donation on Friday, August 11, 2017. Photo by Clay Lomneth / The American Legion.

'We take care of our buddies'

The Kansas Soldiers’ Home in Fort Dodge, Kan., opened its doors to – and provided a meal for – the 2017 American Legion Legacy Run’s opening ceremonies.

During the ceremony, American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt presented the home with $4,100 worth of items made possible through an Operation Comfort Warriors grant. The items will go to both the Kansas Soldiers’ Home and the Department of Veterans Affairs Dodge City Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.

“There’s a little bit of everything here to give to the (residents),” Schmidt said. “They are so proud of their service to the United States of America."

Items that were included in the donation were sweatpants and sweatshirts, blue jeans and other clothing items; games, such as dartboards, chess and checkers; and towels and hygiene products. A new pool table also has been ordered and will be shipped to the home.

Legion Riders from Florida, South Carolina and Illinois – members of the Legacy Run’s advance team – were the volunteer shoppers who collected the items.

“I’m speechless,” said David Smith, the home’s superintendent. “We really appreciate it. We enjoy tremendous support from The American Legion from (the Department of) Kansas. To see this much support to come forth … is just amazing. Our residents will absolutely love this.”

Department of Kansas Legionnaires regularly visit the home, including a trip in December when they provide gifts to all the residents.

“We know this is going to a worthy cause,” Schmidt said. “Any way you can help past and future veterans – that’s who we are. That’s what we do. We take care of our buddies.”