Local Veterans Connect Virtually To Commemorate Memorial Day

Local Veterans Connect Virtually To Commemorate Memorial Day

2:46pm May 22, 2020
Dewitt Wells (R) and Doug Parnell (L) at a coffee in 2018 commemorating the anniversary of D-Day. The two stand as they are recognized for their service in World War II. BETHANY CHAFIN/WFDD

As Memorial Day approaches, veterans are among the groups of people who will not be able to come together in person in remembrance of those lost. So, they're finding new ways to observe the holiday and stay close to one another.

Don Timmons is with Trellis Supportive Care in Winston-Salem and served in the U.S. Army. He coordinates around 80 Veteran Coffees each year, across eight different counties. He says smaller coffee meetups attract around 30 veterans and the larger ones — 300 to 400.

“We’ve gotten to know each other really well by attending the coffees," he says. "It’s filled a void that veterans really didn’t have before. It’s about a group of people who care about each other and have shared experiences and like being together and like being supportive of each other as well.”

The coffees have been canceled due to COVID-19 precautions. But, Timmons says, they’re finding other ways to keep in touch. On Monday, there will be a virtual Memorial Day Concert by the group Letters from Home.  

There are also email updates throughout the month that include important information and resources. And more of what are called “buddy calls” — veteran friends checking in with one another by phone.

Timmons says the goal is to eliminate as much isolation and loneliness as possible with the tools they have. And, in the future, they might even consider a Zoom chat.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

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