Letters from Veterans and Donors

Francis D. Sommer
(May 12, 1983-Feb. 11, 2011)
Excerpts from letters written by some of the veterans who benefitted from donations to the Kansas City VA in Francis’s memory:

“Your son was a loving and caring individual, to care for the homeless vet.”

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for all that you have done to assist the veterans homeless program. Words cannot express how much your help is appreciated. Your actions inspire others to do more to help those who need it most and give hope to those who feel hopeless.”

“My name is John and I served as a combat medic during Desert Storm. I’m currently in a total rebuilding after multiple tragedies . . . .I was so far down and out I would not have made it without the brotherhood that we shared. The items I’ve received made a difference. Thank you for your support.”

“I’m corresponding with you for the blessings you continue to bestow upon your son’s brothers and sisters in arms! I send to you from my heart thanks and prayers for your loss and the gift of a crock pot. It was truly needed and will be a great help in my food preparation since my heart attack in July.”

 “I have been receiving physical and psychiatric care at the Kansas City VA hospital for over three years and I happen to be a participant in the homeless program. I am very grateful to no longer be homeless and cast away in the shadows of war.”

“…it gives me such a good feeling to know that there are people out there who really care.”
Army Vet, 1972-74

 “Thank you very much for your contribution to my family….My kids went wild over the cookie mix and cookie sheet!”

“My daughter and I very much appreciate the items we received from you all. It would be a better world of there were more folks like you….this is a better Thanksgiving than we were expecting.”

“I speak of Francis to others, about how awesome and touching it is to have someone who truly cares for people, especially someone who doesn’t know or has ever met you.”
Soldier of Desert Storm

“I understand Francis was a sergeant so he was used to watching out for and caring for men. When we were told of Francis’s family and friends’ donations, all 100 or so of us in the meeting applauded in unison….I am a Vietnam-era vet who has fallen on bad times and ill health and feel strong gratitude….War is always very hard on family and friends and even harder for men and women coming home who didn’t die but have lost forever pieces of their bodies, minds and souls.”

“I am so sorry for your loss, but I wanted you to know how much your gifts are appreciated.”

“Dear Friends, You won’t believe this, but I have been checking several local thrift stores trying to find a crockpot….it was such an unexpected delight to receive on new in a box from the ‘friends of Francis.’”

“I appreciate [the crockpot] and thank you all for what you have done for all of the veterans who have received this gift in memory of Francis. I wish that I could have met him, so I would like to call my crockpot ‘Francis’s Family Crockpot’ or ‘Francis’s Slow-Cooker’ in memory of someone I have not met…. I think he would be happy and pleased for what you all have done in his memory.”

“Thank you very much for donating the crockpot. I have been wanting one for a long time. I was a homeless vet suffering from PTSD. I am doing better now due to the HUD/VASH program and VA programs. Thank you again very much.”

“I wanted to thank you for the wonderful crockpot. I am sure it will be cherished. I am a 31-year-old Iraq veteran and am sorry for your loss.”

“You’ve been an inspiration to a lot of veterans. Thank you.”

“I’m a homeless Navy veteran [living] at the Kansas City Mission…. my sympathy goes out to the family of Sergeant Francis. I thank God for your strength and compassion to allow your son to live on through your charity.”

“I want to thank you all for the wonderful things you have donated to the veterans. I really appreciate it so much. I really can use the crockpot. Thanks so much.”

“Thank you for the gift, and please know I will use it greatly and always with Francis and you all in mind.”

Cooking kits ready for
distribution to veterans.
“Thank you Francis’ Family and Friends for the gifts for food preparation. I will think of Francis and you all when they are used, which will be often. Your thoughts of us touched my heart with greatness, and I’m also honored by your compassion.”
―U.S.A.F.  Vietnam Veteran

“I have been a homeless Vet many times, but at the present time I have housing through the V.A.  HUD/VASH Section 8 program.  The gifts that were purchased with your donation are more than appreciated! I haven’t had spaghetti and meatballs for a long time and didn’t think I could cook it, but it was good! I also enjoyed the oatmeal cookies; I love oatmeal."

“A gift such as you have given has blessed so many people in need. Thank you very much. God bless you and all of your family.” ―Mr. and Mrs. ….

“I would like to thank you for the donation I received from Francis’s family. I really appreciate everything from my heart.”

“I am an Army veteran and I know it’s hard to lose someone, and it’s nice to know someone cares for us after we leave the service.”

“Thank you dearly for your thoughtfulness and sacrifice.”

 “[Francis’s] brave, dedicated, selfless sacrifice, and distinguished, honorable service to both country and countrymen are a shining tribute to his life’s work and a sterling example for us all to emulate.” ―Veteran, U.S. Army 1969

“I am a vet and can only imagine some of what he dealt with, but it seems he had a loving family….I thank you very much for the gifts in your son’s name and will continue to pray for you.” ―Veteran, U.S.N.

“Thank you very much for the gift I received today at our meeting….Through the help of the VA I was able to get my first apartment since 2004. The gift is greatly needed and I thank you again.”

“I am deeply touched by your gift and thoughts and caring as well as [that] Francis was thinking of us. It’s amazing how people can touch you without you knowing them. My thoughts are with your family.”

Excerpts from notes by donors:

“This is a heartbreaking problem that needs lots of help.”

“Blessings to all who help with this needed service.”

“Please accept this check to help your efforts in aiding homeless vets in Kansas City.”

“My husband is a Marine Corps veteran, having served 12 years. We think this is such a worthy cause. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many.”

“Enclosed is a donation for your work with veterans in honor of Francis D. Sommer, son of a former student of mine, Robert Sommer. Thank you for caring for this group.” sent from Great Plantation Falls, Maine

“We read about this activity in an article that appeared in the Kansas City Star and wish to help support it…Keep up the good work.”

“Having a son currently serving in the United States Army and now on tour in Afghanistan, I could not think of anything better than to help out our veterans.”