Veterans Angel Tree cleared in hours, but you can still help

“The community is taking bits of themselves and giving them to these veterans.”
Vietnam veteran gets more than he asked for after angel tree plea
Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 11:45 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - On Tuesday, the Watkins-Logan Veteran’s Angel Tree still had 60 wish lists on it. By 11 o’clock Wednesday morning, all 60 had been adopted ... and then some.

“We have an empty tree," said Christina Randolph, the activities director at Watkins-Logan. "We’re empty!”

After they asked for the community’s help, those at Watkins-Logan received more support than they ever expected.

“I knew we were going to get a response from the community, I knew they wouldn’t let these guys feel as though they were forgotten,” said Randolph. “But, the outpouring of support is more than I ever could have imagined.”

Members of the community stopped by the veterans home on Thursday morning to meet Ronald Wilson, a Vietnam veteran who lives there.

“We got you a gift basket and some warm gloves, you like gloves?” asked one of the visitors. “I can use those,” exclaimed Wilson. “You can use those? I’m so glad,” said the visitor.

T.J. Austin Elementary brought a bus full of 60 kids to go caroling at the veteran’s homes, people donated games and cards for the veterans to play, and people dropped by just to visit with the veterans.

“I have had close to 300 people walk through these doors looking for veterans to take care of,” said Randolph. “I’ve gotten over 200 phone calls, close to 300 emails, I have text messages on my phone waiting for answers and they just keep coming in.”

Wilson said he knew there would be support, he just didn’t know how much and how quickly it would happen.

“I told you, there are millions of people in this area that would love to help veterans that need help,” said Wilson. “And I was right!"

Wilson wanted nothing more for Christmas than to make some new friends. Thursday, he got just that. He told his new friends about his service, his life growing up, his extensive golf knowledge, and everything in between.

“When you think veterans angel tree you think okay, we’re going to go grab something, but what we’re seeing isn’t just them grabbing presents, they’re grabbing hearts," said Randolph. “The community is taking bits of themselves and giving them to these veterans and the veterans are loving it.”

If you weren’t able to get a wish list off the tree, you can still help the veterans this Christmas.

To see how you can help the veterans at Watkins-Logan this Christmas and all year round:

  • Go to Watkins-Logan at 11466 Honor Lane, Tyler, TX 75708
  • Call Christina Randolph, activities director for Watkins-Logan at 903-617-6150
  • Email Christina at

Some common items asked for by veterans include: bath towels, body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, gloves, hats, ear-muffs, sweaters, sweatpants, audio-books, snacks (savory and sweet).

You can also donate your time, services, talents and more.

WEBXTRA: Angel Tree for veterans is now empty!

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