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In an event that celebrated the spirit of both Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, Lena Vellturo, Veterans’ Services officer for Longmeadow, came up with an idea for a professional photo shoot to recognize and express gratitude for the veterans living at JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow.

During the photo shoot on November 20, photographer Eugene Simmons, a veteran himself, took a photo of each of 20 veterans in front of the American flag. Vellturo presented them with special commemorative pins and thanked them for their service.

“We thought it would be a very nice way to honor our veterans,” said Cheryl Gumlaw, director of Life Enrichment at JGS Lifecare. “We’ll frame the pictures and give them to each veteran to keep. We’ve also talked about creating a veterans wall in our Leavitt Family Jewish Home, something the home’s executive director, Robert Whitten, suggested.”

Regular Programming for Veterans

Vellturo noted that Longmeadow is very proud of its veterans and was happy to help honor them in this special way. The town hosts monthly gatherings for veterans on the first Wednesday of each month. There are plans for Simmons to photograph other local veterans at a future event.

As a leading health care system serving seniors and their families, JGS Lifecare is often home to several veterans. Regular programming includes monthly gatherings, an annual celebration and special events throughout the year.

“It’s an honor to care for these men and women who so bravely served our country,” said Gumlaw. “We honor them in every way we can, and thought this would be a very meaningful activity. We’re grateful to Lena and Eugene for making this special event possible. Our veterans and their families are so appreciative and look forward to receiving their pictures.”