2019's Operation 'Thank A Vet' held in South Boston

2019's Operation "Thank A Vet" held in South Boston

BOSTON — On Saturday, volunteers in Boston – home to more than 17,000 veterans – are taking the time to thank them one-by-one. It's an annual effort put on by the mayor's office and state treasury. This year, South Boston was the neighborhood chosen for "Thank A Vet."

Roughly 100 volunteers gathered at a South Boston school. Hearing from Mayor Marty Walsh about what to keep in mind as they meet veterans through Operation "Thank A Vet."

"The young people particularly, you're talking to history, it's what you read in the books," said Mayor Walsh.

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Then descending onto the streets of Southie with a simple mission: thank vets and let them know about services offered to them.

"A lot of veterans aren't aware of the benefits," said Steven Croteau, an Air Force veteran of 24 years.

Croteau is in his first year volunteering.

"As a veteran, it's great to see people from the community come together and thank people for their service," he said. "It's a great honor and it makes me feel good."

As for that simple mission, it wasn't so easy for some volunteer groups. They continue to go door to door; the only problem was a lot of veterans weren't home or weren't able to come to the door.

However, one veteran they did meet in Southie was Army veteran Edward Lane. They nearly missed him, he was heading the hospital to see his wife, Dede.

"She has cancer," he said. "She's been weak and tired and stuff lately."

He got a few "thank yous," before leaving, along with a challenge coin from the mayor. A few small, but meaningful gestures.

"Well, it makes me feel better than when I did it," Lane said of hearing thank you. "When you're in the service you don't get appreciated. Now they say thanks for doing what you do, thanks for your service.

"It's a great feeling actually. Before, people said, 'eh.'"

Volunteers have thanked over 3,000 veterans and delivered care packages since the program began in 2015. Their goal is to eventually get to everyone.