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Home Front
Home Front
VFW National Home for Children 3573 South Waverly Rd. Eaton Rapids, MI 48827 Phone: 866-483-9642
A Special Report for Friends of the VFW National Home for Children Winter 2016
In this Issue:
• A Word from our
Executive Director
page 2
• Donor Spotlight:
Jane Reape
page 3
• About the Buddy Poppy
page 4
Did you know...
Only about 35% of active-
duty military families live
on a base or in other
military housing?
Upon hearing Zane’s Buddy Poppy speech
and meeting him at the National
Convention, James Shaffer decided Zane
would be the ideal caretaker for his large
and valued collection of VFW pins. Here is
the text of Zane’s speech:
Hi, my name is Zane and I am 11 years old.
I live at the VFW National Home for
Children with my brother Zack, my sister
Kourtney and my mother Robyn.
I am in the 5th grade and I am on the
school honor roll. I play on football,
basketball and baseball teams and I also
enjoy fishing, camping, hiking and
building forts — I like doing anything
outdoors! My goal is to be a Marine or
Navy Seal.
I am blessed to live at the National Home.
I feel comfortable and safe here and I have
my own room and don’t have to share with
my brother. My mother is working hard so
someday we can buy a house of our own.
There are tons of kids to play with and lots
of room to ride my bike — I like to ride on
the trails. The pond by the cabin has lots
of fish for me to fish for. We go on lots of
fun trips with other kids and families like
to the Cedar Point Amusement Park and I
also like State Days, when veterans come
and play with us.
Sharing the VFW Heritage
Zane, a National Home resident and this year’s VFW Buddy Poppy child, proudly displays
the collection of VFW pins recently given to him by VFW Post member James Shaffer.
Memorabilia from the military service of Zane’s family can be seen behind him, including
the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals awarded to his great-grandfather.
(continued on page 4)
A publication of:
VFW National Home
for Children
3573 South Waverly Road
Eaton Rapids, MI 48827
Phone: 866-483-9642
Patrice Green, Executive Director
Molly Studinger, Program Director
Tim Smith,
Marketing and Development Director
Todd Marriott, Facilities Director
A Word from...
Patrice Green, Executive Director
While the National Home is a separate
organization, we are very proud of our
close association with the Veterans of
Foreign Wars (VFW)
who established the
National Home over 91
years ago — and we
are extremely grateful
for the support
provided to us by the
VFW and Auxiliary
national organizations,
by Posts and
Auxiliaries and by
individual VFW and
Auxiliary members
across the country.
But we also have
many, many supporters who are not
affiliated with the VFW and who may
not be aware of the traditions that
connect our organizations. One of
those traditions is the Buddy Poppy
campaign—in which paper poppies are
assembled by disabled and aging
veterans for distribution, the proceeds
of which help fund numerous veterans’
service programs, including the
National Home.
This edition of our Home Front
newsletter contains interesting
information about the Buddy Poppy
and its history, while also introducing
you to this year’s
Buddy Poppy child,
Zane, a resident of the
National Home. Zane
will be featured in
promotions of the
poppy program, and he
is an excellent example
of the VFW National
Home values and of our
shared goal to make
sure that our war
heroes are not
forgotten. As you will
note in his photo, Zane
takes great—and justifiable—pride in
his family’s service.
I know you also share this goal, and
this pride. So I hope you will find this
edition of our newsletter interesting.
And also, the next time you see a VFW
member distributing Buddy Poppies, I
hope you will give him or her your
support. Thank you!
Winter Emergencies
Still Ahead
El Niño or no, we can count on more winter
here in Eaton Rapids for February and beyond.
And that means falling tree limbs, dangerous
streets, burst pipes and power outages, at
Your contribution today can help us keep our
facilities in good repair, our vehicles in
operation, and—most important—our
residents safe and warm! Any help you can
provide will be greatly appreciated during this
challenging season. Thank you for caring!
Thanks to our generous supporters, the
giving spirit of Christmas filled the VFW
National Home for Children community
throughout the holiday season.
As part of our annual traditions, Santa and
Mrs. Claus visited each boy and girl in their
homes – with help from VFW District 8 of
Michigan. The excited children jumped up
and down and ran to the front door to
greet the couple from the North Pole as
they pulled up in the National Home fire
truck. The jolly elf brought toys and other
goodies to the children, much to their delight.
And the Christmas spirit continued with a holiday craft show, the annual Christmas
lunch, the fun of the Cootie clowns, and a final visit by Santa Claus before he headed
back to the North Pole.
You Delivered!
A Very Merry Christmas at the Home!
Jane Reape’s entire
adult life has been
entwined with the military.
Her late husband, Jim, retired from the
Air Force after 22 years of service, so her
children grew up as part of the Air Force
family. Jane worked at Ft Drum, NY as a
civilian employee, retiring after 30 years,
as the Budget Officer for the Guthrie
Ambulatory Healthcare Clinic there. Her
oldest son, Raymond, is an Iraqi Freedom
veteran, her youngest son retired from
the Air Force after 22 years of service, her
granddaughter was commissioned as 2nd
Lt in the Air Force last May and her
grandson is in his 3rd year at West Point.
If that’s not enough dedication to service,
Jane’s brother-in-law, Joe Reape, retired
after 20 years in the Navy and her other
brother-in-law, Leroy, retired after 20
years in the Army.
In addition to enthusiastic participation
in her VFW Auxiliary, Jane belongs to
numerous other military associations, is
active in her parish, and bowls in two
leagues. She enjoys reading, crocheting,
knitting, cross-stitching, traveling,
cruising … and roller coasters.
Two visits to the National Home were all
it took for Jane to adopt our residents
into her extended family.
Attending the 2009 National Home
orientation as a Department Jr. Vice
President, Jane says she was pleased and
surprised to see “what a beautiful and
safe place it was for families to find
refuge, confidence and assistance.” Later,
when the renovations were completed on
the New York 2 House, Jane, then
Department President, and the
Department Commander were invited to
come for the ribbon cutting. “It just so
happened that Santa was making his
“official” visit to the Home,” she says
now. “What a pleasure it was to
accompany Santa and see the joy on the
faces of the children and their parents!
After those two visits, I fell in love with
the VFW National Home.”
Before those visits, Jane says that she
“never realized the many ways the VFW
National Home helps veterans and their
families. I was most surprised that it is
not simply a home but a community filled
with love and compassion. It is like the
small town I grew up in from the
beautiful brick homes, chapel and
community center to the nursery. I am so
proud to contribute in a small way to the
work of the VFW National Home.”
And we are proud that Jane has chosen to
support our work. Thank you, Jane, for
your many contributions and for your
entire family’s service to our great nation!
Jane Reape
Jane says she is “just an ordinary VFW Auxiliary
member trying to do my best to serve my family,
my parish, my community and our veterans.”
But she is not so ordinary to us.
Where should we shine
the Spotlight next?
If you would like to nominate another
member of our community – or volunteer
yourself – for a future Donor Spotlight,
please contact Nancy Archambeau at
(866) 483-9642, or by e-mail to:
In addition to
the financial
support that
helped our
holidays shine,
everyone at
the National
Home is
thankful that
so many donors took the time to wish the
children a Merry Christmas this year. This
is just one of the trees we were able to
decorate with the ornaments that donors
signed! It’s such a wonderful way to
spread cheer, and to let the children know
that friends all across the country are
thinking of them and wishing them well.
As we have witnessed firsthand here at the
National Home, parental deployments in
wartime can take a toll on the mental and
physical health of the family members left
behind, especially children. A new research
study conducted by the Syracuse University
Institute for Veterans and Military Families
confirms the children’s need for special
This study compares the rates of mental
health visits, injury visits, and child
maltreatment visits for young children
(ages 3-8) of previously
deployed/uninjured and previously
deployed/injured military parents, as
compared to young children of military
parents who have not been deployed. The
researchers found that not only do children
experience more mental health problems
during a parent’s deployment, but that the
problems continue and even increase after
a parent returns from deployment. Risk is
further increased if the parent has been
injured (mentally or physically) in combat.
The researchers note that the Department
of Defense has many tools to help families
prepare for an upcoming deployment, but
few to help them reunify after
deployments. As this study indicates, it is
crucial that children receive supportive
care both during and after deployments,
and that caretakers understand the post-
deployment period is a time of increased
risk for the entire family.
New Research Details the Impact
of Deployments on Children
Thank You!
An integral part of the VFW community
since 1922, the Buddy Poppy
symbolizes the VFW promise: that the
sacrifices of American troops will never
be forgotten.
It is the VFW’s official memorial flower,
inspired by Canadian Army Col. John
McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders
Fields,” which is reproduced on this
page. Proceeds from the distribution of
Buddy Poppies—on Memorial Day and
throughout the year—are used to aid
veterans and their families. In fact, our
National Home is an important
beneficiary of this campaign, which is
why children in residence here vie for
the honorary role of Buddy Poppy child
each year.
While the poppies originally distributed
were shipped from France, members
soon came up with a better idea.
Disabled, hospitalized and aging
veterans—in VA hospitals and state
veterans homes—began making paper
flowers and shipping them out to the
Posts and Auxiliaries for distribution.
The VFW pays veterans for this work,
providing additional income for the
little luxuries that make hospital life
more tolerable. Furthermore, Poppy
assembly is often used as a therapy
program to provide exercise for fingers
and hands crippled by wounds, disease
and the effects of old age.
National Home Campus
Calendar of Events
Feb 3 Trustees Board Meeting
Mar 18-20 Easter Treat
Mar 20-26 National Home
Awareness Week
May 12-14 Department Jr.
Vice Commanders and Presidents
June 8 Trustees Board Meeting
There are very good reasons why charitable gift annuities have been around – and
remained popular – for more than 100 years. An annuity not only helps your
favorite charity, it can bring you important benefits as well, such as:
• providing a guaranteed, fixed income for life (some of which will be tax-free).
• possibly saving tax on Social Security benefits.
• supplementing your retirement income.
• reducing capital gains taxes, and saving on estate taxes.
• offering an alternative to CDs and money market funds.
If you want to ensure that the National Home can meet the future needs of
veterans’ families and children, establishing a charitable gift annuity may be the
perfect option for you. And it’s easy!
Nancy Archambeau, Assistant Development Director, can help you learn more
about charitable gift annuities and how they might meet both your personal
and your charitable goals. To get started, simply use the enclosed reply form to
request our brochure, contact Nancy toll-free at 866-483-9642 or use our interactive
tools at to explore the benefits of different scenarios.
My great grandpa was in the Army and
fought in the battle to retake the
Philippine island of Corregidor. He was a
member of the 503rd Parachute
Regimental Combat Team in WWII. My
great uncle was in the Army and served
in Vietnam, and my grandpa is a Marine
and a member of the VFW. I am lucky to
have had all three of them in my life.
I want to be the Buddy Poppy because I
want to show veterans that they are
appreciated by kids and grownups for
all they have done and sacrificed for
our freedom.
Thank you for your support. God bless!
Can a Charitable Gift Annuity
Benefit You…AND Veterans?
(Sharing the VFW Heritage continued)
by John McCrae
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.
Mr. Shaffer’s lifelong collection of VFW pins,
now entrusted to Zane, filled a shoebox.
About the Buddy Poppy