More than 1,000 veterans made their way through the Veterans Experience Action Center in Cary, N.C., Sept. 14-16. And every single one of them at one time came into contact with one of the dozens of Legion family volunteers who spent as many as 40 hours at the center over the three days.
Whether it was checking veterans in, providing those snacks and water while they waited in line, directing them to parking spaces or just making them feel welcome, the volunteers spent hours ensuring those attending the center had a positive experience.
“The commitment is fabulous,” said Richard Spyrison a member of Post 67 and the event’s organizer. “We’re a family of veterans trying to help veterans.”
Jo Spyrison – a member of Auxiliary Unit 67 and Richard’s wife – spent part of her time at the center signing in veterans. She worked from 6 a.m. to almost 8 p.m. Thursday, and 7 a.m. to nearly 10 p.m. Friday, before putting in what was close to a 12-hour shift on Saturday.
“I think if you’re going to be in an organization like ours, that it’s your duty to help the veterans,” Jo said. “They’re the most important people we’re helping right now.”
Post 67 Commander Shelton Faircloth said that mission is what brought members of several veterans service organizations to help at the center. “I think it speaks to that … our purpose is to still serve veterans,” he said. “It shows that people do care about veterans.”
Wayne House, a member of Post 67, was at the post almost 10 hours a day, ensuring that both the workers and then veterans were fed. On the final day he led a sandwich-making effort for the nearly 200 veterans who showed up.
“These folks need help, and that’s what we’re about: veterans helping other veterans,” House said. “It ain’t about me. It’s about helping folks who need it.”
Though it was hard work and long hours, Jo said it was rewarding. “It’s really good when (the veterans) come out (of the center) and we ask them how it went and they say, ‘Good. All good,’” she said. “That’s the best part.”