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In this photo from late November, Band of Brothers members deliver a check to the staff at Holbrook on the Hill nursing home staff. / File photo

Band of Brothers on track to brighten Christmases of residents in 25 north-central W.Va. nursing homes

BUCKHANNON – When the Band of Brothers set out to brighten the Christmases of nursing residents in north-central West Virginia, the local Christian men’s group thought they’d at least be able to help nursing home facilities in Upshur County.

Photographer Al Tucker, who’s keen eye and quick shot is behind the breathtaking photos in the 2021 West Virginia Scenic Calendar, then noticed the calendars were selling well, despite the Band of Brothers not having the typical avenues through which to promote them – social and civic club meetings, indoor arts and crafts fairs and more.

“We initially believed we could help at least the nursing homes in Upshur County,” Tucker said at Nov. 24 Tuesday’s check presentation to Holbrook on the Hill nursing home. “Then, we realized we were selling enough calendars to help 10-12 nursing homes in Upshur and neighboring counties, maybe 15, but I think we’ll make it up to 25.”

“It’s just absolutely incredible, and we’re blessed to do this,” Tucker told Holbrook on the Hill staff, including activities director Darlene Hitt.

The Band of Brothers’ “Helping Kids from 1 to 92” campaign has been selling 2021 West Virginia Scenic Calendars with all-new photos to raise enough money to help nursing homes in the region make Christmas extra special for their residents, whether it’s through a special holiday meal or a personalized Christmas gift.

At Tuesday’s check presentation, the Band of Brothers handed over a $1,500 check, which Hitt said would cover the cost of not only a special Christmas lunch, but a delicious Christmas dinner for residents. As Band of Brothers member the Rev. Jerry Murrell presented the Holbrook on the Hill staff with the check, Band of Brothers member Bill Nicholson also delivered personalized Christmas greeting cards designed by Debbie Huber, the wife of another brother, James Huber.

Hitt said she and the entire staff were so grateful for the chance to illuminate what would otherwise be a lonely, isolated holiday for the nursing home’s 110 residents.

“We plan to use it for meals for Christmas lunch and Christmas dinner for the residents – that’s one thing that’s very important to our residents is having a nice meal, and so we coordinated Tiffany in dietary and she’s going to make that happen,” Hitt said.

However, Holbrook on the Hill isn’t the only stop the Christian men’s group has made over the past several weeks. On Friday, Nov. 20, the group, many of whom are veterans themselves, traveled to the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility in Clarksburg to deliver a $5,000 check so the staff at the VA Nursing Home could organize an Angel Tree-type event through which every resident will receive a personalized Christmas present based on the staff members’ knowledge of the person’s wants and needs.

The Band of Brothers members present a $5,000 check to the West Virginia Veterans Nursng Facility Friday, Nov. 20. Pictured, from left, are Beth Hutchins (Alzheimer Unit), John Simons (U.S. Air Force), Amy Summerfield, Kevin Hawkins (Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Army), Jodie Everson (Activities Supervisor), Rick Reel (W.Va. Army National Guard, Retired), Vera Reel (Staff Nurse), Alan Tucker (U.S. Air Force, Retired). / Photo courtesy Al Tucker

“We’ve been about helping kids for the past five years, and this year, we didn’t even think we were going to be able to do a project, but we turned it over to the Lord, and here we are beyond any expectation,” Tucker said.

As of Monday, Nov. 30, the Band of Brothers has either presented or mailed 12 checks to nursing homes in Upshur, Harrison, Barbour, Lewis, Webster, Randolph, Taylor, Gilmer and Tucker counties.

“It’s just absolutely incredible,” Tucker remarked. “I tell folks that we’re kind of like in the old Western movies where you have the runaway stagecoach – well, we’re hanging on for dear life, and the Lord has just taken us everywhere. It’s just unbelievable.”

2021 West Virginia Scenic Calendars have sold quickly this year, and as of Monday, Tucker said only about 30 were left, but more could be printed if the need arises.

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