16-Year-Old Spends Free Time Helping Veterans
By Caroline Foreback
BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) - Many children spend their summers at camps or with their friends, but one teenager is choosing to volunteer his time with veterans.
Luke Lilly is not your typical 16-year-old. He spends his time volunteering at the VA Medical Center in Beckley.
Lilly works primarily with the safety office and gym department where he learns a lot about engineering and government entities. Lilly said he learns the most from the veterans with whom he interacts.
"Their stories and their amazing things that they've done for this country...and just how we give back to them and the community," Lilly said.
The staff at the V.A. said Lilly is wise beyond his years and he has been a huge help. This is Lilly's third summer volunteering at the V.A., and he said it has been an incredible experience.
"It's really humbling and it's a great honor that I'm given the opportunity to do this," said Lilly.
V.A. employee, Charlie Woods, said spending time around veterans can be a positive influence on kids.
"I believe by them seeing the veterans and the sacrifices they've made for our country, and seeing what other people have done, it will inspire them to do the same thing throughout their lives," said Woods.
Woods also said interacting with volunteers means the world to these veterans.
"When younger adults or children get to come visit, it lights their world up because a lot of them live here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Woods said.
Lilly added kids his age can learn a lot from veterans. He said hopes to inspire others to give back to those who gave everything for our country.
"Most of these men left their homes at the age of 18 or younger to go serve in a foreign country for our nation, and I think that just listening to their sacrifices and all the things they've done for us.. I think that could help many people my age branch out and try different things, and to give back to the community," said Lilly.
Lilly said he wants to go to law school when he is older and he wants to continue working with veterans in his adult life.