American Veterans Serve as Santa Bringing Hundreds of Smiles to Local Kids

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Valdosta, GA - December 22, 2012

Santa is usually the bearer of gifts on Christmas... but Saturday afternoon in Valdosta it was America's veterans that served as saint nick.

One veteran said "this is a way that as veterans you can give back to the community."

About 400 kids recieved presents. But basketballs and bicycles weren't on everyone's wishlist.

Jaliyah Lancascer said all she wanted for Chirstmas was "love."

Link Dublin is an American Veteran member. He said "all the children come down and get bicycles, toys. It's something that Am Vets loves each and every year, we've been doing it for twenty seven years now."

With 300 members American Veteran Post 607 is the largest in the state of Georgia. There's about 185,000 American Veteran members around the country. Their moto: God, Country and Community.

Calvin Graham is one of those veterans. He earned a purple heart in Vietnam. Despite decades gone-by the dreams make it fresh.

He said "every night you remember it. You wake up in a sweat. Always trying to stop and hold on to something and it's just something you have to live with."

Thankfully attitudes have changed when it comes to the men and women that have served our country.

Link Dublin went on to say "today veterans are more or less celebrated, you know. Afghanistan, the Kuwait veterans you know man, the Iraq veterans. Where as the Vietnam veterans were kind of null and void you know, they were taboo as they say. But today it seems like the whole country is all about Veterans regardless of where they're from."

In total more than 500 people attended the Christmas Party including Valdosta's mayor John Gayle.