Valentine's Day: Almost 30 veterans celebrate love with their sweethearts

Published on Friday, 14 February 2014 20:51 - Written by Victor Texcucano vtexcucano@tylerpaper.com

True love withstanding the effects of time was the theme at Watkins-Logan State Veterans Home on Friday afternoon, where veterans and their spouses were honored with a Valentine’s Day luncheon.

The Daughters of the American Revolution, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving American history, sponsored the sweetheart luncheon, which served almost 30 at the veterans’ home.

Paula Warren, DAR state chairwoman of service for veterans, said the luncheon served to honor veterans and their spouses who made great sacrifices in the name of protecting our nation.

“People forget (about their sacrifices.) They come home (from war) and try to lead a normal life, but they have these things in the back of their mind that they’ve done,” she said. “They need to be honored. They really do.”

Ms. Warren, who herself served in the Naval Sea Cadet Corps in the 1980s, said she especially understands the plight of military men and women.

Sabrina Wheeler, life enrichment manager at Watkins-Logan, said the luncheon was necessary for the spouses of the veterans living in the home.

“With our veterans being here, and the spouses being away so much, we thought that we would do something to bring them closer together,” she said. “The love is still there. This is a chance for families to get together.”

She also said during their military days, men and women were often serving during the holidays, so this also gives them an opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day together.

“A lot of their holidays were spent overseas fighting for our country, so spouses have stayed home many Valentine’s Days alone,” she said.

One of the couples that exemplified everlasting love was Rhonda and A.G. Engel, who have been married for 66 years.

A.G., who served in the Army during World War II, said he and his wife try to celebrate Valentine’s Day by going out for dinner every year.

Daisy and Curtis Wacasey, married for 36 years, shared some secrets to long-lasting love.

“Don’t marry someone you don’t love,” Daisy said. “Don’t marry for money.”

Daisy describes Curtis, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, as a sweet and charming guy. She also said her cooking probably kept him around.

“When we met he (weighed) 150 pounds,” she said with a laugh. “Now he’s around 245.”

Bill and Fran Chamblee, married for 18 years, also were in attendance.

Bill served in the Army in the early 1950s during the Korean War.

Ms. Wheeler said while this is the first year this kind of event has taken place, the home plans futures Valentine’s Day events