Huntsville man forgoes Christmas gifts to help his fellow veterans

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Each Christmas, you undoubtedly get gifts that were incredibly nice thoughts, but will only collect dust in your closet for months - maybe even years.

For that reason, and many others, a local WWII veteran, Warren Schmidt, decided to forgo all gifts from his family this year, all in the name of a good cause.

“I would rather they use the money they would buy gifts for me to donate to Forever Young," says Schmidt.

Forever Young Senior Veterans is an organization, originally out of Memphis, that grants wishes for combat veterans. Their most common wish involves returning to the battle field.

"Send veterans back to where they served all over the world," explains Schmidt.

They've gone back to WWII battlefields in both the European and Pacific theaters.

Most recently, nearly a dozen went to New Orleans to the National World War II Museum.

Warren saw first hand, the impact retracing steps can have on his fellow vets.

“Some of the veterans maybe had some remembrances of the war and what they went through and the tough times they had dealing with it. These trips it showed us, that they actually, it was a healing process for some of them," he says.

He even had his own tender-hearted moment, when a young singer approached him outside the museum.

“She said, 'Would you like to sing a song with me?' And I said, 'Well yea!' She said, 'Well what was your favorite song from World War II?' and I said, 'I’ll Be Seeing You.'"

The two sang together for several minutes, attracting quite the listening crowd.

“She was 18 or 20-year-old girl and she knew every word to that song, And of course I wouldn’t have remembered all the words, but I followed her, and I sung with her. And that was the highlight of the trip for me," says Schmidt.

Warren says, he can't think of a more Christ-centered gift.

“I see it at work and in that organization. It’s wonderful and I’m so fortunate I found out about it," he says.

One that is perfect, whether you have a veteran in your life or not.

“It gives me a warm feeling to know that my family thinks enough about me and for other veterans to want to do that," says Schmidt.

If you would like to learn more about Forever Young Senior Veterans, or to donate to their efforts, visit their website at www.foreveryoungvets.org.