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Packages delivered to local veterans

The Hillsdale Daily News - 12/16/2017

Dec. 16--HILLSDALE -- Every year, Penny Sarles and John Barrett head up the charge of sending 700 packages to troops away from home during the holidays.

Locally, the Jonesville American Legion Post 185 makes sure veterans at the Hillsdale County Medical Care Facility get a package as well. On Thursday, 19 packages were delivered to veterans at the facility.

Each month, the legion members visit local veterans at the facility, said Post Commander Bob Snow.

The holidays are also special to Renae Shircliff, deputy director Hillsdale County Veteran Affairs, who joins the group to distribute packages packed the first Saturday in December in Jonesville.

Shircliff said this is her second year to join the legion to distribute the packages. On Thursday, she and Snow were joined by legion members Larry Rathbun and Bryan Murray.

"I look forward to joining our local heroes to give back to our local heroes," Shircliff said. "The Jonesville post is very active in our community with the scrap drive and many other activities. They collect and donate the money they make to various organizations to help veterans and their families."

Shircliff added that the post also performs funeral detail in the county and "have mastered it to perfection."

"Those members are very dedicated to helping other veterans in need," Shircliff said. "We appreciate their support in our community working with the Hillsdale Veteran Affairs Office and closely with the American Legion in Detroit."

Shircliff added that the community is very generous with local veterans.

"Tenneco in Litchfield called the day before Thanksgiving to donate 17 turkeys," Shircliff said. "We found families to help make their holiday better."

Shircliff said it's humbling to know that the office is at the top of the list of helping local veterans.

"The Hillsdale Veteran Affairs works closely with the Community Action Agency in helping homeless veterans," she said. "Both agencies are dedicated to end homelessness among our community and serving our nations' needs."

Shircliff added that collaboration is also made with the Hillsdale Salvation Army and the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We make it our mission to end homelessness locally," Shircliff said.

Receiving a package from Shircliff Thursday at the Medical Care Facility, Howard Steele, 90, said the gesture meant a lot to him. He served in the Seabees branch while in service.

"I don't have much contact with the veteran's office, so this is great," Steele said.

Shircliff assured him he was in their system and not forgotten. She noted rides could be arranged for doctor visits in Jackson.

Also among those visited was Clinton Justice, 98, who served in the United States Air Force. Justice lived in Jonesville and was active in the Lions Club where he was given the Melvin Jones Fellow Award.

"I think it's wonderful for myself and other veterans to receive this package," Justice said. "It's filled with puzzles and other things to keep me busy. It's just what I needed!"


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