BARSTOW • Volunteers from the American Soldier Network paid a visit to the Veterans Home of California-Barstow on Monday, and they showed up with hundreds of bags of free stuff for the veterans there.
ASN founder Annie Nelson and her team of volunteers came to the Veterans Home for the program’s annual Hearts for Heroes Valentine’s Day Outreach. Nelson’s team brought 205 SWAG bags.
“SWAG for us stands for Showing Warriors America’s Gratitude,” Nelson said. “In the bags we have items of Valentine’s candy and handmade cards from children across California, as well as items donated by the organizations that support us.”
Nelson has spent the past 10 years traveling the country and raising awareness for U.S. veterans of all eras. For this year’s Hearts for Heroes event, ASN chose to visit the High Desert.
“The reason we chose the Barstow Veterans Home was we had a shoe drive for the American Soldier Network back in October, and the Barstow/Victorville area community raised over 5,000 pairs of used shoes to contribute to our shoe drive,” Nelson said. “This is our way of giving back to the Barstow/Victorville community, delivering our Valentine’s (gifts) to your Veterans Home.”
Veterans Home director Raymond Lau said he was impressed with the ASN event.
“It is really super good,” Lau said. “We have a lot of volunteers that come up here, and for the American Solider Network it’s the first time they came up here, and that’s about a three-hour drive for them. We’re simply amazed.”