When it comes to honoring those who help keep America free, the Antelope Valley community is one of the most generous- just ask any resident at the William J. Pete Knight Veterans Home in Lancaster, Calif.
“We really feel the love,” explains Velora Darling, 93, who received a visit, hugs, a card and cupcakes from community queens while she enjoyed music from the Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship Jazz Band. The smoky, smooth jazz reminded some residents of the USO clubs of the 1940s. “There is always something going on here and we have wonderful people that visit us.”
Darling equates living at the home with living on a cruise ship, “except our ship never leaves the port!” Serving in the Marine Corps as an air wing mechanic in 1945, she said she also enjoys going out into the community. “There are a lot of old people here, so I like to get out once in a while,” she adds with a chuckle.
Building more than world class fighters, when Lockheed Martin employees heard that resident’s walkers were getting stuck in holes where trees once stood, they didn’t simply cover the holes, they came up with a plan and built two flower gardens.
“When we heard of the problem, we wanted to help,” explained Mike Glass, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ITF site director at Edwards AFB. “It is a fun way to give back to our veterans and show our support.” As part of their community out-reach program, Glass said he couldn’t think of a better place to make a difference.
Activities at the home include meditation classes, Tai Chi, Bible study, poker and beer, car shows, movie night, barbecues with folks from Edwards, visits from local schools, outings to Disney Land and camping in Sequoia National forest.
“We couldn’t ask for better support from our community,” said Annette Gewitz, activities coordinator. “People enjoy coming here to support us and we really enjoy having them.”