January 2, 2024
Knapheide Employees Help Bring Ho-Ho-Holiday Spirit to Illinois Veterans’ Home Residents
Knapheide employees dedicated their time, talents and treasures to bring joy to residents of the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy, Ill., on December 19, 2023.
“During Christmas, there is so much that draws our attention, and there are so many opportunities to donate and help kids and families in need, but it seems like, in general, the older generations are forgotten. I love that this program reminds them that we haven’t,” Stacy Houghton, Customer Service Representative and Veterans Tree co-organizer at Knapheide, said. “When you can get a community behind something like this, the results are always greater than expected. That’s why I love that we get to participate as a group, and that so many of our employees are involved.”
Employees from seven of Knapheide’s facilities in Illinois and Missouri contributed this year, “adopting” a total of 130 Illinois Veterans’ Home residents, by selecting tags from their location’s “Veterans Tree”, then purchasing and wrapping the gifts chosen from each veteran’s wish list.
“My activities staff helps determine which residents could use a little extra Christmas spirit each year,” Sara Colgrove, Director of Volunteer Services & Activities at the Illinois Veterans’ Home, said. “With all the sickness and isolation periods this year, these gifts will be a welcome reminder that they are not alone or forgotten. Many of the gifts are as simple as candy, soda or even new pants, but it shows them that there are people here, in their community, that are thinking about them.”
More Illinois Veterans’ Home residents will receive homemade cards or handwritten letters from Baldwin Elementary School students, as a result of this year’s program, thanks to the Stegeman family.
“It is truly a family effort,” Kristen Stegeman, Fleet Production Coordinator at Knapheide, said. “My brother Andrew [Stegeman, Custom Product Specialist at Knapheide,] and I reached out to our mom, Tammy Stegeman, for help. Because of her, 560 students, in grades kindergarten through 5th, decorated cards and wrote letters, thanking the veterans for their service and wishing them a very Merry Christmas.”
In addition to receiving their tangible gifts, a few residents of Hammond Hall got something a little more special that day: an opportunity to chat with Santa and other Knapheide employees.
“While the gifts are a wonderful gesture, the time spent with these vets is what Christmas is all about,” Mike Dailing, Corporate Safety Manager at Knapheide and this year’s Santa, said. “What I didn’t realize before my dad became a resident here is that many of these residents are from out of town and do not have family nearby. Delivering these presents, and spending a few minutes chatting, brings happiness to these brave men and women, which is a special thing. Putting on my Santa suit just makes for a good ice breaker.”