MT. VERNON, Mo. -- U.S. Marine veteran Michael Pennington only has use of his right foot and hand, but that does not slow him down.
“I always wore a blister on my thumb especially when I had to go up a hill or down a hill or hold my wheel so I wouldn't go down like a sled,” says Pennington.
He says the blisters have since healed and these gloves from Elks Lodge members have been a big help
“The fact that they give them to us,” says Pennington. “Free gratis is wonderful.”
Elks Lodges, including one in Lebanon, are working to help our veterans.
Every year, they collect deer hides from area hunters. The hides are shipped to tanneries to make occupational therapy leather kits and these gloves for veterans with immobilizing disabilities.
These are distributed to veteran’s homes and hospitals around the country. Even locally in Mt. Vernon.
“The Elks just believe that as long as there is a veteran alive, we will never forget them,” says Cliff Burns from Elks Lodge #2257. “And that's part of our motto, so everything that we do is for God and country.”
Whether its annual cookouts or just a visit to veterans homes, Elks Lodge members want these men and women to know how much they appreciate them.
In Lebanon, members collected the most hides in the state; nearly 300. Each one has the potential to help veterans and more hides are needed.
“It makes me feel good,” says Burns. “That it is going to a good cause especially the veterans they do so much for us and we just can't do enough for them.”
For veterans like Michael, it’s not just the gloves or thought that means so much.
“Not only do they appreciate,” says Pennington. “But they sincerely care and that's the best feeling.”
If you are interested in donating deer hides, contact your area Elks Lodge and ask about the program.
There is no cost to veterans.