Shelia Albright, Michael Hillegas Chapter/NSDAR Veterans Chairman, and Bonnie Wilkins, Department of Illinois Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary State Commander, volunteered to work at the Vietnam Moving Wall at the VA Hospital in Marion, Illinois May 2 -5, 2019.
After a training session, both women worked at the Wall and at the educational area. As visitors entered the event, they were handed information, flyers, etc. about the traveling wall. A bank of volunteers provided them with information on how to locate a specific soldier, including the panel number and line the name was on. They were also given a paper with the year, and a special crayon to make a rubbing of the name at the wall. Many tears were seen and stories heard by the guides during those four days.
After visitors left the wall, they stopped by the educational tent where they signed the visitor’s book and had the chance to look at maps, see military posters, and pick up schedules for ongoing activities. Other activities included a candle light vigil and several patriotic organizations had laid wreaths in honor of the fallen men.
Over 1300 school children visited the Wall on Friday, with over 6200 total visitors who visited throughout the event.
The event was very impressive. The Veterans Administration staff was very warm and empathetic to the veterans and their families. They were wonderful to work with. A special thanks to Maria Sgourakis Buehler, Voluntary Service Officer from the Marion VA Health Care System, who always had a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face, no matter what glitches she encountered. The Michael Hillegas DAR Chapter was so appreciated that their Chapter Veteran’s Chairman was chosen to serve as part of this important veteran’s event.