The volunteers from the Military Order of the Cootie are really infectious.


The volunteers from the Military Order of the Cootie are really infectious, but what they are spreading is what some folks need to contract, a little love.



Ruth Chevalier, Carla Reaves and Amy Zeringue dressed up as clowns right before Halloween to spread good will through the Cherry Point Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Havelock.



The trio is part of MOCA, which is a branch of the Honor Degree of VFW Post No. 7315 in Havelock.



"Our motto is Keep Them Smiling and Beds of White, and we go to veterans’ homes and we give them candy and little gifts or whatever and we try to do that once every three months," said Chevalier, of Newport. "I just love to talk to them, see them smile and see their reaction. It makes you feel good."



Reaves said in the past the group has decorated the facility with pumpkins and flowers.



"We come over on special occasions and donate money," she said. "We help them open the residents’ store and we help them stock their store and different things."



Last week, they delivered candy, balloons and Halloween memorabilia to residents.



"It makes you feel so good to go just to make them smile. To give back just a little bit is awesome coming here," Zeringue said. "It takes guts to come here all dressed up, but they appreciate it."



Sharon Holmes, recreation therapist and activities director at the facility, said she sees the impact the volunteers have on the residents and the staff when they come.



"These guys do a lot of things and they don’t see a lot of what they’ve done after they leave. I get that glory … ," Holmes said. "They brought ice cream and popsicles one time and it lasted about a month. They’ve brought hundreds of dollars worth of food. They bring so much that sometimes I can share with the staff."



The donations help fill a need that isn’t always considered, Holmes said.



"Sometimes the residents missed lunch or they’re wanting something sweet, and even it helps the staff out," she said. "The residents love it. Every Friday I’ll have an ice cream social and sometimes they bring things and I’ll add things like cookies to it, and they love having sodas because they don’t have the money to just go down and get a soda or have somebody to go out and get their food. It’s like a daily treat that they’ll get or a weekly treat just from their donations."



Holmes said volunteers are always needed, and she works with volunteers to fit them best with a resident of the facility.



"We have some arts and crafts volunteers. We have some music therapy volunteers and we are very blessed with that, but we could always use more," she said.



Holmes said volunteers fill a need just by sitting and talking with residents.



"The residents just feel so loved and special because just someone coming in and holding their hand or reading to them or showing them photo albums that they are not able to physically pick up and open," Holmes said. "They still have the spirit in their heart to experience it but it takes a lot of people, and the volunteers are the ones that make that happen."



Anyone wishing to volunteer can call Holmes at the Cherry Point Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 444-4631.