'It's a Godsent': Black Hawk County VA provides gifts to veteran - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'It's a Godsent': Black Hawk County VA provides gifts to veterans & families

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KWWL -

The Black Hawk County VA is bringing Christmas to more than 80 veterans and their families this year, delivering more than a 1,000 gifts.

Monday morning, volunteers helped the Black Hawk County VA turn into Santa's workshop, as volunteers prepared gifts for veterans and seniors.

The VA received $8,100 donations this year. Black Hawk County VA Director Kevin Dill says the generosity isn't even comparable to last year when they only collected $1,800.

With the donation money, the VA was able to deliver 265 gift bags to area nursing homes. The bags were each stuffed to the brim, with hats, chocolates, and snacks, each one warming the heart a bit more. 

85 veterans were also adopted by complete strangers, who provided Christmas gifts for veterans and their families.

The VA will also be using the donation money to provide Christmas dinner for 50 military families, as well as give grocery gift cards to 20 military families. 

Volunteers included military veterans as well as members from area churches who wanted to lend a helping hand. Volunteer Tim Houts, who is a Vietnam Combat veteran, spent all Monday donating his time and bagging gifts. 

"I'm retired and I just want to give back to the military," said Houts. "Because I know there are veterans that are suffering and I know that what veterans do now is very important and I want to make sure there's a safety net for them."

Black Hawk County VA Director Kevin Dill has been making that his mission for a while now. His mission this Christmas was to make sure these veterans don't feel forgotten. Dill delivered gifts to veterans Monday morning. 

Vietnam Air Force Veteran Richard Greer was just one of 85 veterans who were adopted this Christmas.

 "It's a Godsent," said Greer. "Ever since I got back from the service, I was never able to get into Christmas or any of that. And then when Kevin took over, oh it all changed."

Greer suffers from PTSD and depression, which is why shopping for gifts, especially in the Christmas crowds, is something he avoids. This year, the VA has relieved the burden. Instead, complete strangers are opening up their hospitality and their hearts to donate to veterans, reminding them they're not forgotten. 

"The VA is more my family, than my family is," said Greer. 

Unfortunately, Greer had his TV stolen just recently. Greer says he filed a police report, but at last check there are no suspects. This Christmas, Greer is hoping to get his TV back. 

The VA plans to use the rest of the money from Christmas donations to purchase beds for veterans and their families. 

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