Honoring Veterans at Christmas

Some of Houston's military veterans are being honored with a celebration and holiday party. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, Air Force ROTC cadets are showing their respect for some of the men and women who served in the past.

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At the DeGeorge House downtown, about a dozen veterans are assembled in the lobby for a Christmas party in their honor. These men and women are among 100 formerly homeless vets who now live at the DeGeorge. Robert Beckham is a Vietnam veteran and the resident who has been here the longest, nearly 7 years. He says it's gratifying to see a new generation training to serve in the military.

"I think that's about one of the most important things I did in my lifetime as a young man when I first when in the service. Because after almost 30 years of being out of the military, they're still helping me after all of those years. So it's been quite a benefit to me. I think they're doing a real good job. I think they made a good, wise decision, especially coming into the Air Force. I'm an Air Force man myself."

This celebration is put on by Air Force ROTC Detachment 003. The cadets are based at the University of Houston and they visit the veterans at the DeGeorge several times a year. They're here now to hand out greeting cards, serve cake and present the vets with a Christmas present of a DVD player to go along with the TV in the common area. Col. Phil Bossert commands the detachment.

"One of the reasons why we're here today celebrating our freedom is because of the many sacrifices of veterans that have gone before us. And it's important for our cadets -- future veterans -- to thank the current veterans and to see the sacrifices they made."

This is the first time Cadet Jared Schultz has been to the DeGeorge. He calls it an honor to visit with the veterans.

"I hope to one day be a veteran just like them and in a lot of ways they set a very good example because they're very honorable people and they deserve a lot of respect."

Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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