Residents at the Oklahoma Veteran’s Center received a visit from several Santas dressed in blue on Monday morning.

Residents at the Oklahoma Veteran’s Center received a visit from several Santas dressed in blue on Monday morning.

Ardmore’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 108 donated about $500 in recreational gifts to the residents at the center in honor of the holiday season. There were about six stereos and several fishing rods, tackle boxes and lines. They also donated radio and television equipment, including about 100 batteries.

“We felt it was a good way of giving back to them, showing them that they are appreciated for what they’ve done,” said Cpl. Bobby Moore, local FOP president. “Just to let them know they aren’t forgotten about.”

The group also sponsored the Shop With A Cop Program, which gives gifts to children who are victims of crime or are less fortunate. But this is the first Christmas season that the group has donated to the veterans, which brought a sea of smiles, Moore said.

“They were very excited, not only because they were receiving a gift, they were just excited for our presence and us just showing them that they were appreciated and someone would take the time out to think of them. They were very happy.”

Eugene Perkins, 83, couldn’t help beaming, and it’s because he’s already anticipating next year’s fishing trips, he said.

“It gives you, more or less, energy and enthusiasm. You’re anxious to get out there and get in the water,” Perkins said. “That’s what it feels like to me.”

The center has received double the amount of gift offerings than it has in the past few years, and the residents at the center depend on these gifts, said Leo Peters, the recreational therapist at the center.

“Our department runs on donations,” he said. “We have a good community that supports our veterans.”

Donations come in the form of sports equipment, educational programs, spiritual and religious donations in the form of Bibles and spiritually motivated films, educational programs and financial offerings to fund field trips, he said.

“That’s their whole quality of life. These gifts are so important because they help residents feel brighter about their days,” he said. “There are guys that couldn’t do all this stuff on their own. Then they find out when they get here they have a whole new social life because of all the donations. And that helps keep our guys happy.”

Keith Howard, 221-6542