Florida Veteran Brightening Other Vets’ Spirits This Christmas

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Christmas resembles a festive and happy time of year for many Outsiders. However, numerous others across the country lack the companionship and means with which to celebrate so cheerfully. As a result, many Outsiders, especially our nation’s brave veterans, are left spending the holidays alone. Now, however, one Florida veteran is making sure former service members across the state are celebrated in one memorable way.

Florida resident Renee Whisner has quite the mission in mind this holiday season. The vet plans to send more than 3,000 Christmas cards to veterans’ hospitals and nursing homes across the Southern state.

Whisner previously served in the U.S. Air Force. However, a 2014 auto accident put an end to her career and saw the woman paralyzed from the chest down. Now, seven years following, Whisner reflected on how uplifting it was to receive so many “Get Well” cards while hospitalized. Now, she plans to do the same for fellow veterans and senior citizens.

According to Fox 4, Whisner said of her experience following the accident, “One of the nurses came in and said I was the only one that was receiving cards there, and I thought, ‘No way.'”

To combat that, Whisner enlisted the help of children from six Collier County, FL schools. Together, they completed and collected an impressive 3,161 cards. This year, the veteran aims to send cards statewide. However, next year, she plans to do the same on a national scale.

“Renee has a purpose in life,” the veteran’s mother, Mimi Treadway, said. “And it’s not to sit in this chair and be sad.” She continued, “It’s to do things with her life that make her happy. And this makes her very happy, so I’m thankful for that.”

Texas Students Honor the Local Veteran with Christmas Trees

Whisner’s mission to deliver Christmas spirit to veterans’ doorsteps and hospital rooms across Florida is surely memorable and noteworthy. Meanwhile, a number of Texas high school students have made headlines by gifting decorated Christmas trees to their local veterans.

According to KIIITV, Veterans Memorial High School students decorated an impressive total of more than 30 trees in honor of their local veterans. The outlet further states that, while the event has garnered national attention, it doesn’t mark the first time the caring group has done this. In fact, deemed the annual Christmas Parade of Trees, the high school marked its fourth holiday celebration.

More specifically, the high school’s sports teams and extracurricular groups primarily partake in the Parade of Trees. What makes each tree memorable is that all 30+ boast a vast array of themes.

Further, while the TX school celebrates its fourth parade, this year is a little different according to the news outlet. Typically, the school turns to local military organizations to locate the lucky group of veterans. However, this year, the group is on the search for local heroes.

That said, those interested in obtaining or securing one of these trees for either themselves or another veteran are encouraged to reach out to Tatum Hagen, one of the school’s teachers, at [email protected]