Sat, Dec 22 2018 - Caroling-for-Veterans Hike from Mason Mill Park to and inside the nearby VA Hospital (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Charlie Cottingham
Participants:Charlie Cottingham, Gayle M., Huiling, Maithy, Mary Reed, Dan Reed, Barry Polon

Write Up:
A big pat on the back to Gayle, Huiling, Thy, Mary, Dan and Barry for joining me this morning to spread some much-appreciated musical holiday cheer for about 25 bedridden veterans and their friendly medical support staffers on the 8th and 9th floors of the Atlanta VA Medical Center.   Many of them got a kick out of singing along with us with their personal requests such as Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire... and O Holy Night as we gathered around their hospital beds.  Special thanks to Mary and Thy who did a fine job on tambourine providing a happy beat to my guitar accompaniment.  Thanks also to Thy for sharing several of her colorful photos including the one of us below beside the hospital.

        (Left to right in photo: Thy, Dan, Mary, Huiling & Gayle standing, with Charlie & Barry crouching in foreground)
  The weather was beautiful and it worked out perfectly for us to park at nearby Mason Mill Park just prior to our "Caroling Hike" to the VA Hospital just after Lyndsay Newton's "Mason Mill Mix-Up" hike (which Barry, Gayle and I also greatly enjoyed!)! Barry hadn't been aware of this veterans event in advance and we were delighted to have him "register on the spot" and pitch in with the holiday cheer!  We took advantage of the lovely new PATH connector boardwalk & trail to walk safely to the hospital and enjoyed rehearsing some of the ~20 popular holiday songs in our repertoire while en route.
  As a veteran and occasional VA patient myself, I've enjoyed visiting hospitalized veterans with my guitar at Christmastime over the past several years, and it was wonderful for the first time to have AOC friends join me!  All seem to agree that we'll shoot for an encore VA caroling hike next Christmas.
  - Submitted by Charlie, Sat evening Dec 22, 2018