WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 7, 2013) -- Several veterans from the Armed Forces Retirement Home here attended the Washington Auto Show, Feb. 5., thanks to Soldiers who volunteered to push them in their wheelchairs through the sprawling convention center.

One of those volunteers was Spc. Pedro Berroa, from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson., Colo., who was on temporary duty to an area school.

The vet he escorted was Richard DeForge, who served two tours in Vietnam in the Air Force.

DeForge, whose last car was a Fiat, said he'd never be able to drive again but enjoyed getting out and seeing the new automotive technology. He said he was especially grateful to veterans today; veterans like Berroa.

Berroa said that during his chat with DeForge, he discovered that they both grew up in New York City, albeit in very different eras, which, he said, gave them a lot to talk about.

Despite missing his wife in Colorado, Berroa said it was a "good feeling being with the veterans." He added that he did a similar tour a few weeks ago with veterans from the Armed Forces Retirement Home, or AFRH, taking one of them on a tour of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is also in Washington, D.C.

Soldiers have had a close relationship to veterans of the AFRH in the past as well.

Since the home's beginning in 1851, when it was called the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home, operational funding came from the Soldiers.

In 2001, Congress renamed it the Armed Forces Retirement Home, along with a similar home in Gulfport, Miss.

The AFRH's mission is: "To ensure that (every veteran), regardless of financial ability, will receive top-rated long-term care when needed."

Page last updated Thu February 7th, 2013 at 00:00