“Pam’s Party Line” column for Aug. 8, 2013

Friendship Force of Baton Rouge members traveled to Jackson July 27 for the group’s annual “Christmas in July” patriotic party for veterans at the War Veterans Home.

The morning included Cajun dancing by Les Danseurs de la Capitale de Baton Rouge and a Zumba demonstration by the Zumettes. The entertainment wrapped up with everyone singing “God Bless America.”

Then it was time for sandwiches, chips, grapes, bananas, drinks and decorated Christmas cake, which was donated by Whole Foods, for the veterans and their families. Earl Corkern even called in a favor from a buddy in Washington Parish and brought a truckload of those famous watermelons. Most of the watermelons were left for the residents to eat later and some were distributed to the volunteers.

The veterans were presented with Christmas bags of “goodies” containing several useful items. On their departure from the festivities, the veterans were given Girl Scout cookies and peanuts, bananas and soft drinks to take to their rooms.

Funding for the event was provided in part by a team grant from ExxonMobil secured by Frances and Charles Bennett, Keith Corkern, Jean and Howard Merrill, and Sue and Richard Phillips.

Additional support came from Wal-Mart in Denham Springs, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Baton Rouge, Sam’s Club, Louisiana Lottery, Hollywood Casino, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Lofton Staffing, the Better Business Bureau, Home Instead Senior Care, Blue Star Moms, Raising Cane’s, Capitol City Produce and Friendship Force member Sue May.

Frances Bennett chaired the event. Assisting her were husband Charles, Bob and Gayle Duncan, Barbara Wittkopf, Thornton Cofield, Karen Pharis, Patsy Becker, Keith Corkern, Jo Ann Wall, Marilyn Mansur, Carole and Earl Corkern, Corinne Formellier, Lynn Robbins, Tom and Margaret Moore, Eveline Alleman, Karen Vingiello, Rose Wooden, Vera Martin, Darwin and Linda Knochenmus, Pat Hunt, Betty Simmons, the Merrills and the Phillipses.

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