(Photo by Clay Lomneth)

OCW grant boosts VA's nationwide baby shower

The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program presented a $50,000 grant to the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday to help supply new baby welcome kits to women veterans at 60 VA medical centers across the country.

The grant presentation came during the Legion’s National Executive Committee Spring Meetings at National Headquarters in Indianapolis. National Commander Denise Rohan said the grant reflects her theme of “family first.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit many VA medical centers across the nation over the last eight months,” Rohan said. “We have so many female veterans who don’t realize the services that are available in those facilities. We wanted to show our solid support for that ‘family first’ theme.”

More than 2,400 new veteran parents and parents-to-be who receive their care through the VA registered for a baby welcome kit, which includes a diaper bag, toiletries, hair brush and comb set, layette, blanket and hat. Priced at $50 apiece, the VA was nationally short 1,000 of the baby wellness bags and the Legion’s OCW grant is fulfilling that need.

Accepting the grant on behalf of the Veterans Health Administration were Laura Ruzick, associate director of the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, and Tabitha Ingram, chief of volunteer services at Roudebush.

“It is with great honor and gratitude that we accept this most generous gift from you,” Ruzick said. “I am accepting on behalf of the Veterans Health Administration, the 60 health centers and the thousands of women veterans with child and their families who will appreciate this gift.

“Our female veterans with child have a very special gift for us, the gift of a new United States citizen. They have special, special things to pass down to them—being warriors and patriots, they have a set of values, sets of service and duty, that they will instill in their children.”

The baby kits are being distributed to the women veterans during baby shower events that are being hosted at 60 VA medical centers in 32 states and the District of Columbia through May 16. The events included a donation of baby seats, strollers and cribs from The American Legion Department of Indiana Wednesday night at Roudebush.

For more information about the VA's nationwide baby shower event and for locations of where they will be held, visit here.