Army Instructors Have Lots to Teach About Generosity

From left, Staff Sgt. Everett Colby, Brandon, Sgt. First Class Justin Hanson and Staff Sgt. Donovan Cooper in the lobby of St. Mary’s Home. 

About 20 helicopter mechanics instructors stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis on the Peninsula donated Christmas presents to the children and young adults who live at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk. Three of the instructors delivered the presents to the Home on Dec. 17 and took a tour of the facility.


They also presented 15-year-old Brandon, one of more than 80 children and young adults who live at the Home, with a commemorative coin representing their unit. The instructors are with the U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School, a tenant activity at the base.

A Family Tradition of Giving Continues

Two Sisters, and two sisters: From left, Sister Mary June Morin of St. Mary’s Home, Sister Francis Clements, and Clements’ nieces, sisters Michelle Masters and Mona Lankford, during the family’s recent visit to St. Mary’s. 

Sisters Michelle Masters and Mona Lankford visited St. Mary’s Home last week to donate Christmas presents to the children and young adults, including sleepers and school supplies. This was the 14th year the family brought presents to the Home for the holidays, following a tradition started by their mother, Mary Catherine Masters of Portsmouth, who used to rock babies at the former St. Mary’s Infant Home.

The daughters had never ventured beyond the front lobby of St. Mary’s current building, which opened almost six years ago. So during their recent visit, they took a tour of the 88,000-square-foot facility and saw children attending class and having fun during physical therapy sessions with St. Mary’s staff. With them was their aunt, Sister Francis Clements, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, based in Oldenburg, Ind. Sister Francis and her nieces also got to meet Sister Mary June Morin, a Daughter of Wisdom who has worked at St. Mary’s Home for more than 50 years and is the last nun remaining on the staff.

Sadly, Mary Masters, who was 81, passed away on Sunday. In yet another act of generosity, the family requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Oasis Social Ministry or St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. Her legacy of kindness and thoughtfulness lives on through her family.

Someday at Christmas …

There are many longstanding holiday traditions at St. Mary’s Home, and one of the favorites has come to be the annual visit by the singing group of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk District.

District employees donated gifts to the nearly 90 children and young adults of the Home through the district’s Angel Tree event. The district’s singing group then delivered the gifts to the Home on Thursday, Dec. 17, and also sang holiday songs to the children and staff.

“Christmas isn’t Christmas until they come here,” Shirley Parham, a member of St. Mary’s activities staff, said as she introduced the singers.

District commander Col. Andrew Backus with Shirley Parham of St. Mary’s activities staff and Aly.
The performance delighted and touched both the children and staff of the Home.

Everyone gathered eagerly anticipated what staff here refer to as the “special Christmas song” the group performs every year: Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas.” A sample of the lyrics:
Someday at Christmas there’ll be no tears
All men are equal and no men have fears

One shinning moment my heart ran away
From our world today.

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime.