Former Green Bay Packer visits Marion VA - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Former Green Bay Packer visits Marion VA

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MARION, Ill. -- This week is National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, a time set aside to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country. Each year, VA centers invite vet groups, celebrities and sports stars to show their appreciation.

On Thursday, the Marion VA had a very special guest. Former Green Bay Packer Estus Hood had lunch with a small group of veteran patients, "I just like being around veterans, helping spread a little cheer-- it's Valentine's Day."

Hood, who now lives in Carbondale with his wife, greeted each veteran and with a big smile and handed them a small gift as a token of appreciation.

"I thank them first then they thank me for coming by, so it's just kind of a mutual thing," Hood says. "There was a book, some puzzles in there, a greeting card." 

One of the veterans touched by the visit is Alvin Childress, who has been at the VA for nine months. "For lack of a better phrase, there’s nothing that I can do but maintain. I can’t get cured, so we maintain," he says.  

In the early 1960s, he worked at a hospital in Germany transporting deceased soldiers to the airport, so they could return home. "It was very interesting and very dedicated work. Very, very strict and dedicated on how they treat their deceased," Childress says 

Childress considers himself a football fan, and thinks it's nice to see a football player give back to fans and veterans, "It's just great to see someone coming back to say hello to the soldiers that they show appreciation for the time spent."

Hood finished up his Valentine's date at the VA, visiting veteran patients in their rooms who couldn't make to the lunch.

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