HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Richard Bowers, Luis Garcia and Adrian Perez serve the community by volunteering at Valley Baptist Medical Center.
Garcia served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and was part of the 82nd airborne division.
“It’s just to give them a sense of hey, you’re not alone. We’re here to help you. We’re here to be with you. And since we’re military also, [we have] that connection, that bond,” Garcia said.
Garcia and Perez volunteer doing inpatient visits to veterans. They bring in their cart, with several items like crossword puzzles, crosses in different branch colors and thank you notes for veterans.
Perez served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. He started volunteering with the chaplains, and moved to veteran visits when the opportunity came up.
He also self-authored a prayer which he recites to patients.
“Other relatives that are in the hospital, you know, they want a veteran, they call me, and they say, can you go visit my brother or my sister, pray for them,” Perez said. “So, that really picks me up and gives me strength, that I can still do this at my age.”
Bowers, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard, volunteers by giving patients golf cart rides to and from their car. He has been doing this since 2005.
He recalled one story where a woman thanked him weeks after he had given she and her husband a lift.
“She said, ‘He’s coming home today,'” Bowers said. “No impediment speech, no anything, just good shape. She says, I’ll never forget it. Gave me a big hug and made my day.”
All three veterans say they get satisfaction by seeing the smiles they put on patients’ faces.
It is the level of gratitude and appreciation they’re shown, which motivates them to keep helping and giving back to the community in any way they can.
Valley Baptist Medical Center has multiple veteran volunteers in both Harlingen and Brownsville.