Ice cream social at VA Medical Center | St. Louis Public Radio

Ice cream social at VA Medical Center

May 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Good deeds don't need a holiday.

Sometimes, they happen just because ... it's spring.

For an energetic hive of 42 third-graders -- and their teachers and parents --- from Point Elementary School in St. Louis, the mission was simple Tuesday afternoon: Wish a Happy Spring to the veterans in the spinal cord injury unit at the VA Medical Center at Jefferson Barracks.

This is normally a quiet place -- but not-so-much this hour -- as the noisy swarm bustled about, mixing root beer floats in plastic cups that they shyly passed out to guys like Russ Taylor, 57, of Maryville, Mo., and Michael Smith, 34, from Omaha, Neb., who made valiant efforts to put the kiddos at ease by answering any and all of their questions.

Including the big one about their motorized wheelchairs: What happened to you?

"We came out to give them letters and give them ice cream and talk to them a little bit," said Brynn Sheerin, 9. "I asked them what part of the military they were in and where they lived and if they had any favorite sports and stuff like that.''

The ice cream social has become a school tradition -- not linked to any particular holiday -- but just because it's May. And it's a good thing to do.

"I really enjoyed this today because the kids are so honest and they're not afraid to ask any question,'' Taylor said. "They're just fun to be around. We really appreciate them coming.''

So, let's file this one under the "good deeds, good news" category and give a shout-out to the school, in the Mehlville School District, and the four third-grade teachers who organized the event: Cheryl Jungewaelter, Dara Howard, Cathy Navarro and Jeff Copeland.

Happy Spring...