What began as a small time of recognition to honor its World War II veterans has turned into something even more memorable for residents of The Lexington Center in Huntsville, as the assisted living community has partnered with the HEARTS Veterans Museum to provide a special event for residents and their families.
The POW/MIA Recognition will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 at The Lexington Center, and includes a time of prayer time, musical performances, guest speakers and an interaction time.
Members of the Sam Houston State University ROTC, headed up by Lt. Col. David Yebra, will serve as special guests at the event — leading the pledge, speaking to attendees and participating in the after-program.
“I really hope to see the two generations of military service get to know each other during that interaction time,” Lexington Center Activity Director Kasie Kroll said. “It will be a chance for our resident veterans to see how things have changed and progressed over the years, and maybe come out of their shells and share their experiences.”
Kroll took on her new role as The Lexington Center’s Activity Director just two months ago and soon after began the task of planning events for the residents. Her love of history and of the center’s residents ignited her plans for the veterans program.
“I am a big history buff and I saw that Sept. 17 was National POW/MIA Recognition Day,” Kroll said. “We have so many residents who are veterans — one of them was a prisoner of war, so I started planning this program to honor them.
“I really wanted to showcase the lives of veterans and make this a positive time for them,” she added. “So I contacted Charlotte Oleinik at the HEARTS Veterans Museum and she kind of made it all happen.”
In addition to providing the connection with the SHSU ROTC, the HEARTS Museum is donating items to display for residents on the day of the event. The museum has already provided historical information to The Lexington Center for use in the program.
“We are so grateful to the HEARTS Museum and Charlotte Oleinik for all their efforts to make this happen for us,” Kroll said. “We could not have done it without them.”
According to Kroll, resident’s friends, family and visitors have shown great interest in the program and plan to attend. The public is invited to attend as well, but due to limited space, they are asked to call ahead at (936) 295-4488.
“Those who want to help with the program itself are welcome as well,” she said. “Just give us a call.”
Kroll said she hopes to see this event expanded in the future years, to include more participation and public attendance.
“While they are quickly dwindling, veterans of World War II are still here and they still have a legacy to share,” Kroll said. “I think that people forget that if it wasn’t for them, we might not have the freedoms that we have today.”
The Lexington Center is located at 679 I-45 South next to the bowling alley in Huntsville. For more information call (936) 295-4488 or visit www.thelexingtoncenter.com.