BRADENTON — Residents of Manatee Veterans’ Village were not forgotten on Christmas Eve.
Members of Palma Sola Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10141 and its auxiliary pitched in to provide a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and $50 gift cards to the 20 residents of Veterans Village near 14th Street West and 55th Avenue.
“The local veterans posts have been very kind to the guys here,” said Andrew Overmyer, independent living counselor for Volunteers of America.
Manatee County is home to about 40,000 veterans.
Residents of the Village, military vets who range in age from 29 to 70, are regaining their footing in society through work, education and counseling.
Manatee Veterans Village, which opened in 2012, helps residents transition to inde
pendent living and allows a maximum of two years to achieve the transition.
U.S. Air Force veteran Ian Hindle is one of the newest residents.
“I love it. I have nothing but goof to say. I am fortunate to have this place to come to,” said Hindle, who is looking for work repairing restaurant equipment. “If you’re willing to do the work, there are a lot of opportunities for veterans.”
Village resident John Demilia, 32, of Watertown, Mass., an U.S. Army vet, coordinated with Lance Young, treasurer of the VFW ,on the Christmas Eve dinner.
“Lance had the idea of getting us turkey dinners. All I had to do was heat it up,” Demilia said.
Residents at Manatee Veterans’ Village work a variety of job. One said he cooked at an area hospital. Another said he puts down shell parking lots.
Brady Copeland, 45, of Springfield, Ind., said he works with a local tile company.
“It’s nice. They try to take care of you,” Copeland said of Manatee Veterans’ Village. “They offer all kinds of activities, and job and education programs.”
Volunteers of America operates Manatee Veterans Village. Its mission is to foster lifelong learning and inspire individuals to become contributing members of society. It is a nonprofit, spiritually based organization that “uplifts the human spirit and empowers the people we serve to reach their full potential.”
Manatee Veterans Village is in a former apartment complex, and provides clean, modern living facilities. Local veterans post recently bought new queen-sized beds for the apartments there.