“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
My experience with Veterans Village was just as beautiful and bright as the people who were a part of it. I honestly can’t tell you what I was expecting Veterans Village to be, but I was relieved to discover it to be a warm and welcoming. While setting up the food, I became acquainted with other students there to serve. I thoroughly enjoyed the company and the light atmosphere. My contribution to the dinner was salad and dressing. My boyfriend and I shopped for and prepared our favorite salad for Veterans Village; iceberg/romaine lettuce, cheddar cheese, broccoli straws, shredded carrots, tomatoes, and croutons, topped with Italian or ranch dressing. Unfortunately, I didn’t see many people interested in my salad, but that’s okay, because there was plenty of other great food to be had! A classmate from another AMH2020 class, Robert, and I stood next to each other next to the stove. Our jobs were to start the plates off with a slice of honey ham and a scoop of macaroni & cheese. Also served were, potato wedges, (by my new friend, Robert) chicken salad sandwiches, friend chicken, ham sandwiches, fruit, cake, drinks etc. This particular dinner was most exciting, to see the unveiling of the Veterans Village dinners dedicated to Dr. Soldani. She began serving dinner to these veterans 8 years ago after a former student of hers was surged back to war, on his way home from Afghanistan. Former students of Dr. Soldani’s attended the dinner as well, showing their support for her achievements. We weren’t there for very long, part of me wished it had been longer.
Serving at the dinner helped me to feel apart of something much bigger. For a moment we all got to forget that we were there for a grade, but we were there to provide for these people and put a smile on their face. As we wrapped up the left-over food, an older man came to the counter to collect a plate for his roommate and himself. He smiled big and thanked us for coming, he said that it means more to them than they know how to say. I only signed up for this dinner because I thought I could use the extra credit points, and I’m sure so many other students before me had the same thought, but the beauty of it is that if these other student felt half of what I felt after just walking in the room then I’m confident in saying that the accumulation of generous, giving students has played a large roll in the happiness and success of Veterans Village. I feel that this is an event these people look forward to and thoroughly enjoy. I loved the opportunity to give back to some people who gave so much for me.
More students should find ways to contribute back to society because it can open your heart and change your prospective. If you go into the experience with an open mind, the outcomes are endless. I knew I would have a decent time when I signed up for the event, going into it with an open mind. I didn’t have any expectations of Veterans Village or the people there, allowing me to completely find peace with my surrounding and enjoying my time. Its important to be involved in your community in ways that make you happy, in turn making the people around you - whom you may be providing a service for - happier as well.