PRATTSVILLE — Thank you to all our frontline workers — doctors, nurses, assistants, first responders. Your job is not getting any easier. Thank you to those who have volunteered to travel to other hotspots to assist with caring for COVID 19 patients in return for the help New York received during our crisis. Masks are such an easy thing to do so that our frontline workers are not under such duress.

Kelli-Jo Van Valkenburgh, 2020 graduate of Gilboa Conesville CS, is the recipient of the two scholastic awards sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Virgil E. Deyo Unit 1327. We are proud of you Kelli-Jo. Speedy recovery to Stephanie Braswell. Stephanie suffered a serious injury to her foot, necessitating surgery at Albany Med and there is another surgery in the future. Son Dylan returned home from North Carolina but needs to be in quarantine for 14 days. Mom Shelly and Stephanie’s many friends have stepped up to provide prepared food and to run errands. Darcy Jaeger-Brand is lining up volunteer chefs. Community service at its best.

David and Daniel Lane are putting some beautifying touches on Young’s Ace Hardware. Parking lot looking good. The Youngs continue supporting all things for our Prattsville community.

Had a long conversation with Jim Keller, Voluntary Service Director at the VA. There is good news and less than good news. The good news is although they have had COVID 19 patients brought in, no one contacted the virus from them while in the VA. Thank you, VA, for your great care for our veterans.

Now the less than good news. The VA is still in virtual lockdown. No visitors at all and nothing can be brought into the VAMC for use by patients. That means we cannot host a barbecue, ice cream social or luncheon there until perhaps 2021. Our annual Christmas Celebration is also on hold and will probably need to be adjusted in some manner — we will wait for guidelines. “After the 2020-2021 Flu Season” is a possibility.

Jim and most of the staff are under extreme pressure to give the veterans all they need while all volunteers have been eliminated. Volunteers accounted for approximately 40% of personnel assisting with our veterans’ health care — running errands for them, helping them with personal chores (as with most of us, no haircuts), reading to them, playing games with them, etc., so the staff is working at maximum capacity. Jim’s assistant, a New York State National Guard member, was called to duty in New York City during the health crisis and is still on duty.

Although the VAMC is in lockdown, except for medical appointments, the needs of out of work veterans and homeless veterans are still of concern. Jim says they load up food from the pantry and deliver it to those mentioned 2 or 3 times a week. We can take non-perishable food items to them and Jim and staff will come outside to take it to their department. Again, no admittance for those from the outside. If any of our loyal supporters would like to help, we would be happy to take up your supplies — peanut butter, jelly, canned pasta items, stews, tuna, canned meat items, etc., (think protein) no glass. Do believe we are blessed to have Stratton VAMC as OUR facility for our veterans.

Happy Birthday to Joanne Lane and John Young on July 25 — family party? Happy Birthday to Roberta Hull and Shirley Dunham Doroski on July 28. Happy Birthday Linda Cross on Aug. 1.

Call 518-299-3219 or email gurleyrv@gmail.com with news.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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