Helping veterans in need

Each year the Veterans Helping 2005 and Living With a Cause organizations team up to create a special night of giving and recognition for veterans and their families.

This year marks their 11th year hosting the Christmas for Vets program, which will be held Dec. 20 at the Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Friends Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, from 6-9 p.m. All participants MUST pre-register in order to attend.

For those interested in participating, applications can be found online at On the site, there will be a blinking Merry Christmas sign to click-on, and a ready-to-print PDF will appear. A copy can also be picked up at the Wheelersburg Post Office or both Wheelersburg and Portsmouth Kroger. The organizations ask that a list of toy or item requests be mailed with application to Christmas for Vets, PO Box 102, Wheelersburg, OH, 45694.

The organizations curate a Christmas dinner, complete with all the trimmings. Mr. and Mrs. Etterling present each attendee (or the family member attending in their honor) with a specially designed medal in memory of their son Lance Cpl. Jonathan Etterling, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2005.

“After the meal, the veterans and their families receive a food basket and toys for their children, so they can have a Christmas at home. For some of the veterans, this might be the only Christmas they have,” said Director John Foster, Sr. “We owe our veterans a great deal of gratitude for the freedom we have. We also want to thank SOMC and Andy Glockner for being our main sponsors again this year.”

Special guests include Gene Bennett, a local man who was a Major League Baseball Scout for the Cincinnati Reds; Al Oliver of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Don Gullet, a former Major League Baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees. Al Oliver will be the guest speaker for the evening.

The organizations are still seeking monetary, food and toy donations. If you’re interested in donating or providing items, please contact Angela Ward at Monetary donations can be mailed to Christmas for Vets, PO Box 102, Wheelersburg, OH, 45694.

For more information about Veterans Helping 2005, you can go online to, or by emailing, you can also call 740-574-6621.

For more information about Living With A Cause, you can search “Living With a Cause,” on Facebook.

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.