From the outside looking in, the ballroom in Denver’s downtown Grand Hyatt hotel had been transformed. The tables were lined with everything a new or expecting family could anticipate needing. Neatly displayed around the room were diapers, new bath sets, bottles and clothes in an array of colors clearly indicating that a baby shower was taking place. But make no mistake, this was far from a typical baby shower.
The ballroom was also filled with service members from all branches of military service. In a past life, these 21 brave soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors were also gunners, pilots and medics who signed up to serve their country. Today was the day that their community stepped up and served these women in return.
“These events are great and really make us feel special. It is really such a great opportunity for us to be able to meet other Veterans who are also sharing our experiences,” said expecting mother and Airforce Veteran Alix Gard .
This was the third and largest baby shower the Eastern Colorado Health Care System hosted in conjunction with their community partners, Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion, Philips, the Veterans Canteen Service and the Grand Hyatt.
“Our community partners are the heartbeat of voluntary services’ ability to provide much-needed items for our deserving Veterans,” said Dan Warvi, the system’s chief of Voluntary Services . “This baby shower is a wonderful example of the community stepping up to help Veterans with any sort of need. In this case, these new and expecting mothers are being showered with a tremendous amount of gifts and support that hopefully show how much their service to our country is appreciated.”
Raffles were completed and gifts were distributed. No one in that room went home empty handed.
“Our women Veterans sometimes don’t realize all of the services offered to them through the VA,” said Carole Donsbach, Women Veterans Program manager. “This baby shower is a way for women Veterans to be recognized, honored and cared for outside of the normal clinical setting in the VA healthcare. This important event enabled them to connect with expecting women Veterans who served their country.”
The women who entered the ballroom that day as nervous new moms, left with new friends and, hopefully, a new sense of pride in their country and their service to our nation, as well as a few new items they can put to good use with their new babies.
For more information on the VA Nationwide Baby Shower, please visit https://www.va.gov/womenvet/acwv/babyShower.asp.
About the author: Brandy Morrison is the public affairs officer for the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver, Colorado. She is an Army Veteran and graduate of Metropolitan State University.