More than 100 Winn Army Community Hospital volunteers, soldiers, civilians and military family members donated their time Saturday to make a difference in the lives of several residents at Coastal Manor nursing home in Long County.
The group spent several hours at the facility, which adopted a “Groovy ’70s” theme for the special day. Event attendees sported bellbottoms, bandannas and other 1970s fashions.
Hinesville resident Melvine Frasier Thornton, a volunteer at the event, said she was ready to boogie with the residents.
“I love people, and I wanted to come out today to support the residents here and also to support Winn hospital,” Thornton said.
Coastal Manor resident Marie Crosby, 64, said seeing so many excited and supportive people at the long-term-care facility made her feel like she was 19 again.
“I like to watch them dance. I like to watch them shake their tail feathers,” Crosby said.
Coastal Manor Nursing Home Director Elise Stafford was pleased with the event turnout. Activities and special days are good for the residents, she said.
“Depression is such a big issue in nursing home facilities. Activities like these get the residents out of their normal routine and stimulate them. We have a good activity program here, but when we have volunteers come in, it makes it even better,” Stafford said.
Ninety-seven-year-old Benjamin Casanova, who is known around Coastal Manor as a “ladies man” appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself.
“Today is wonderful. Everyone here is beautiful — just beautiful,” Casanova said.
Valerie Bonilla, wife of Lt. Col. Jose’ Bonilla, said she brought her son to the event to help him understand the importance of volunteering.
“This is a great thing. I brought my son with me today to show him the importance of giving back to the community,” Bonilla said.
Make a Difference Day, a 20-year-old tradition, is always the fourth Saturday in October. About 3 million volunteers participate annually, helping an estimated 20 million people.
“We are very thankful to Winn Volunteer Coordinator Brigitte Shanken and all of the others who came out today,” Stafford said.