Homecoming hero: Elks help make vet's new apartment a most welcome sight

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From left, Jim Clark and Jerry Skidds of the Elks, veteran Robert McKellar and Matt Sanborn and Mark Guilmett of the Elks. (Courtesy phoot/Elks)

ROCHESTER - April 8 was a good day for veteran Robert McKellar.

That's the day the Rochester Elks #1393 officially thanked him for his service with a relocation to a newly built apartment building in the Lilac City. McKellar had been living in a local hotel and had received assistance from the Veterans Administration since November.

Now, however, McKellar has a permanent residence. As part of his move to the apartment, the Rochester Elks provided him with items to outfit his new apartment, including various furniture items.

The furniture was graciously donated by the Homeland Heroes Foundation in Salem, a 501©3 organization dedicated to providing reacclimation support to military veterans and their families in their time of need.

The Rochester Elks purchased various household items for Robert and then provided the labor and transportation needed to deliver all of these items, including the furniture, to his new residence.

Elks members involved in this effort included Matthew Sanborn, Exalted Ruler; his wife Beth Sanborn; Jerry Skidds, Past Exalted Ruler and Past District Deputy; Jim Clark, Past Exalted Ruler, Lodge Trustee and Mark Guilmett, Past Exalted Ruler and Chairman of the Lodge Trustees.

While many veterans move into their homes with nothing, Elks help veterans establish their homes by building Welcome Home Kits. Generally, this kit includes some small furniture, kitchenware, and cleaning supplies. Items can be new or used, donated or purchased. Elks pledge "So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them." The Elks National Veterans Service Commission takes that pledge one step further, and promises service to our nation's veterans and military members with a special focus on service to those in need.

For more information about the Elks and what they do, visit :

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