Kamil Brady works on homemade holiday cards that she’ll drop-off at Hines VA Hospital in Maywood. This year alone, she’s led a team of roughly 100 volunteers in producing more than 600 cards for veterans at the Maywood hospital. | Michael Romain/VFP
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
This holiday season, Oak Park event planner Kamil Brady has been thinking a lot about an old poker buddy, a veteran everyone who knew him called FBI John. Brady said John was a staple at a local VFW in Iowa, where she once lived.
After John died a few years ago, Brady began looking for some good to do. And she had FBI John in mind. The search, she said, would lead her to a Red Cross project called Holiday Mail for Heroes, which involved citizens throwing parties during which they’d make cards that would be delivered to a local Red Cross.
After the program discontinued, Brady said, Red Cross officials encouraged citizens to keep making the birthday and holiday cards on their own and to find a location of their choosing at which to drop them off. It took some work, Brady said, but she eventually landed on the VA. Again, John was on her mind.
“John would often go to the local VA Hospital in Iowa,” Brady said, during an interview on Saturday at the Oak Park Public Library, where she concentrated on making a few dozen cards to drop off at Hines VA Hospital in Maywood.
Over the last year, Brady’s hosted a card-making party roughly once a month, where around 100 volunteers have assisted in making nearly 600 cards — for birthdays, Valentine’s Day and Christmas — that Brady drops off in the lobby of the massive hospital.
She’s never met any of the recipients of the cards (the hospital has strict protocols in that regard). But she’s not rushing in, either. Brady, who said she’s leery of hospitals, is satisfied in her understanding that some veteran, somewhere — like her old friend FBI John — knows that someone took time out of the day to think about them.
“I work at Hines VA and I will tell you, these cards make a difference,” said one Hines employee in a thank you letter sent to Brady. “They put such smiles on our veterans, many who don’t have families local, or have been dismissed by them. Thank you for doing what you do for our nation’s heroes!”
Brady — who will host a Birthday Cards for Veterans card-making party on Jan. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Oak Park Public Library — is open to donations of materials and sponsorships. To RSVP for the Jan. 7 event, click here. For more info on AKB Events, Brady’s event-planning firm, click here. VFP
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