A sense of service never left the approximately 160 former service men and women who comprise Veterans of Sun City Aliante.
The 2-year-old club unites Sun City Aliante veterans of all branches and hosts guest speakers, field trips and ongoing projects alongside its monthly meetings.
"We’ve all experienced things — wars, peace — that are unique to a vet," said club chairman Sy Nielson. "As a result, there is always that camaraderie we share. It’s an indescribable thing; it’s not something tangible."
The projects the club conducts provide tangible ends, though.
The club hosted a pancake breakfast last year that helped raise $540 for the USO, placed American flags on light poles in honor of Memorial and Veterans days, biannually ships care packages to troops overseas and volunteers for Stand Down for homeless veterans, Nielson said.
Nielson served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1963, and he said he, like many of his neighbors, is navigating new transitions in life. One club project brings service to its fellow man’s home.
Veterans of Sun City Aliante participates in Seniors Assisting Seniors, a subsidiary of a Sun City Anthem project, wherein club members perform free simple household chores and provide medical equipment to needy neighbors.
Tasks include replacing batteries for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and changing light bulbs, air filters and water softeners. A current club initiative is to replace bulbs that illuminate home addresses burned out on about 13 percent of the homes, club secretary Donald Kaufmann estimates.
"These lights are important, as emergency vehicles and visitors must be able to see the address at night," he said.
Sun City Anthem offered its sister community a grant to purchase wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, bedside commodes and shower chairs for residents with a need but maybe not an end to supply their own equipment, said Kaufmann, who served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1954.
Homeowner Helen Groner has called on the group to change ceiling light bulbs, change salt in the water system tanks and even lift heavy items from the trunk of her car, she said.
Groner has a handyman she can call, she said, but for a fee.
"This is more than appreciated," she said. "(Veterans of Sun City Aliante) does a wonderful service for seniors who can’t do these things anymore."
Neighbor Sondra Kronick leaves air filter and light bulb changes to the club because "I’m short," she said.
Her alternative is less than convenient.
"Otherwise, I wait until my son comes to visit from Los Angeles," she said.
Nielson said the 24-hour service fulfills what he called a "mandate" for veterans’ clubs. He was recently asked to assist with the genesis of a veterans club in a nearby North Las Vegas senior community. He offered the club simple advice, he said.
"Make sure your members are interested in the programs you’re going to provide and don’t worry so much about the coffee and doughnuts," he said.
For more information, call 981-3149.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-3839.Veterans of Sun City Aliante
Veterans of Sun City Aliante meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month in the Sun City Aliante clubhouse. The club is open to all Sun City Aliante resident veterans with valid documentation to show they are active duty or were honorably discharged. There are no dues, but 50/50 raffles are conducted to support projects.