Ardmore Veteran's Center to hold Thanksgiving drive-thru parade today

Sierra Rains
Veterans and staff members at the Ardmore Veterans Center waved to individuals passing by in their vehicles for a drive-thru parade. The Veteran's Center will be holding another drive-thru parade for veterans on Nov. 25.

COVID-19 cases are surging across the nation and in order to stay safe, many veterans will be without their families this holiday season. 

Christine Camp, the director of physical therapy and restorative care at the Ardmore Veterans Center, said veterans normally will have family that comes to see them during Thanksgiving or will go home with their families for a Thanksgiving meal, but that simply wasn’t doable this year. 

To help lift their residents' spirits, Camp said the veterans center decided to host a drive-thru parade where families, friends and community members could visit with veterans from the safety of their cars.

The parade will begin today at 2 p.m. at the Ardmore Veterans Center, located at 1015 South Commerce Street. Camp said individuals are asked to begin lining up on the service road at around 1:30 or 1:45 p.m. 

“We’re hoping for a really good turnout, we have invited lots of groups and all of the families to come,” Camp said. “We’re just hoping for a lot of love and noise and appreciation for our veterans — to know that their families are missed not only by their loved ones here, but by the staff also.” 

Those without a loved one at the Veterans Center are still invited to attend and are encouraged to bring signs, noise makers, American flags, or anything they can think of to show veteran’s support. 

Camp said veterans have been mostly isolated for nearly eight months now and have missed out on many normal traditions this year. Staff members at the Veterans Center are some of the only faces many of them have seen for a while. 

“They miss their loved ones; they miss their families. Then we have veterans that have no family and it’s a very hard time for them,” Camp said. “We are their family and we show love for them, but they’re kind of sick of us.”

Drive-thru parades have become quite common at the Veterans Center due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Camp said almost everyone at the facility contributed to making the Thanksgiving parade happen. Camp said the veterans have loved all of the previous parades organized for them. 

“They love the noise, they love being able to go outside and enjoy the fresh air, which they’re not limited to do that now, it’s just being able to see other faces and feel the respect and love that they get from the community and their families,” Camp said. “And to be able to see their families.”

To find out more information contact Christine Camp at (580) 221-5672 or Ashelle Pack at (580) 221-5619.