MEDINA TWP. — Veterans from the Cleveland Wade Park VA Medical Center may have felt like they were taking a road trip, but in actuality it was just a drive to Medina that excited the group.
Seventeen veterans, representing all of the armed forces, were bussed from Cleveland to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5137 on Friday to have a fish fry and to enjoy some fellowship.
Nine of the members came from the homeless shelter affiliated with Wade Park, located at 10701 East Blvd., Cleveland.
“It’s fun,” Wade volunteer specialist June Knowlton said. “They were like, ‘We’re going,’ They felt like they were going to camp.
“They love going on road trips. It gives them a chance to taste some home cookin’. They love it.”
Scotty Kopfstein, past commander of the VFW post, said the post just wanted to reach out to some veterans and provide them with food, desserts and drinks. They also sent several meals, doughnuts and brownies back with them.
“I bet those guys loved coming for a fish fry,” Kopfstein said.
Kopfstein said he reached out to all the nursing homes in Medina County and invited them to come for a free fish fry. Newbridge Veterans Place in Lodi planned to arrive later in the day.
Knowlton, a former Elyria Police Department officer, said it was a wonderful gesture on the VFW’s part to invite them.
“It was very nice of them to do this,” she said.
Knowlton was filling in for another person and was making her first trip with the veterans.
“I didn’t realize all the prep work that goes into it to make sure they are safe and comfortable,” she said.
Knowlton, an eight-year Navy veteran, said Wade Park is one of the largest veterans’ hospitals in the country. It provides orthopedic, mental health and substance abuse services, along with an amputee clinic, among other services.