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      Holiday shopping for Veterans at the Syracuse VA Medical Center

      Holiday Shopping Season

      The Syracuse VA Medical Center offered wounded veterans a convenient, comfortable way to shop for their friends and family this holiday season.

      Veterans were able to get all their shopping done for free right inside the VA Medical Center on Irving Avenue Monday and Tuesday.

      The VA Medical Center transformed its auditorium into a holiday shop, jam-packed with clothing, toys, and gift ideas for veterans and their families.

      American legion volunteers also took care of gift wrapping, and shipping presents to veterans' families -- all free of charge.

      â??I'm very happy people took consideration enough to bring this stuff in so the veterans could kind of have a choice on what they want,â?? says Lloyd Pitman, a Korean War Veteran. "It's quite welcome to have this stuff. A lot of the guys can't get out and like that, so it's good to have it for them.â??

      The program started 50 years ago, as a way for the auxiliary to give back to the men and women who sacrificed so much in serving our country. Volunteers say it's grown tremendously since its humble beginnings.

      "Back then they tried to give them a pair of socks, now we buy all different kinds of items. We buy children's items, all different ages; mens, womens stuff because we allow them to shop for their families; their children, their grandchildren, themselves," says Jayne Fust, Chairperson and volunteer.

      She says all of the veterans are encouraged to pick out something special for themselves while they're shopping for others as well.

      The American Legion Family of Service Organizations buys the gifts, available to Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare.