I recently had the opportunity to visit the AMVETS organization in Pulaski. I was invited by one of the members to play Bingo, and that was the magic word.
As we pulled up in the shopping center, I kept wondering “OK, where is it?” I finally spotted a very small portion of the shopping center with a small AMVETS sign. As we entered the building, it wasn’t fancy; I guess “homey” would be a better description. But I realized right away it wasn’t the décor, it was the people. I was a stranger, but only for a moment, and then I felt like one of them. They are some of the most humble, friendly people I have ever met.
The Bingo started at $1 a card and the public is always invited. The fun began and as I sat there, I watched and listened. Soon I leaned it wasn’t just about the Bingo or the money. It was mostly about the fellowship, sharing stories, feelings and having a good time together.
As I listened to the folks there, I became very curious. Besides the heroes that they are, what were they all about as an organization? So I started asking questions, I was totally amazed at what I learned.
Not only did they give of themselves to fight for our country, they are still giving every day to the community. They fix Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes to give to needy families in the community. They also have benefit dances for various reasons. Donations are made to the Wounded Warriors, wreaths for the veterans’ cemeteries, United Auto Workers and they also serve dinner to the veterans on Labor and Veterans Day.
I was very surprised to learn that they are like the energizer bunny, but instead of “keep on going,” they “keep on giving.” Tonight there will be a fish fry benefit for a veteran’s family for a $7 donation.
As I left, I turned to look back at the building, I then realized that this had not only been an opportunity, it had been a privilege, and you can’t tell a book by its cover.
It was a very humbling lesson and if you have never been to the AMVETS on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. to play Bingo, you are missing out on a very wonderful, experience. The food is great, the fellowship is fantastic and I can pretty much guarantee you will even enjoy the “humble pie.”