Residents donate 2,000 books to veterans hospital

 Approximately 2,000 paperback books left over from a used book sale at the Berkley Public Library were donated to the John D. Dingell Detroit Veterans Affairs Medical Center Oct. 30.

Approximately 2,000 paperback books left over from a used book sale at the Berkley Public Library were donated to the John D. Dingell Detroit Veterans Affairs Medical Center Oct. 30.

Photo provided by Shirley Hansen


By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 7, 2017

 Curran Wilson, a volunteer at the John D. Dingell Detroit Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Berkley City Councilman Jack Blanchard; and Camille Randle pose for a picture after the medical center received the book donation Oct. 30.

Curran Wilson, a volunteer at the John D. Dingell Detroit Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Berkley City Councilman Jack Blanchard; and Camille Randle pose for a picture after the medical center received the book donation Oct. 30.

Photo provided by Shirley Hansen

BERKLEY — Ahead of this weekend’s Veterans Day holiday, some residents in Berkley took time to donate a large collection of books to a Detroit veterans hospital.

The residents, part of the Friends of the Berkley Public Library, took approximately 2,000 paperback books to the John D. Dingell Detroit Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit Oct. 30 and donated them so veterans and patients would have more reading material.

Each year, the Friends have a used book sale at the Berkley Public Library, and after it ends, the residents, including Shirley Hansen and City Councilman Jack Blanchard, drive down to the hospital to give whatever books they have left from the sale.

Blanchard said this was the third time they’ve taken a collection of books to the hospital.

“They’re the ones that have, in the past, said that they needed books because they have a lending library there,” he said. “As we were there unloading books, you see vets walking out with books they’re taking home, and then sometimes they bring them back and get other ones. And the vets that are in there for quite a period of time, they enjoy the books also.”

Camille Randle, a voluntary service specialist at the John D. Dingell Detroit VA Medical Center, said the books really help the veterans, both those who have to stay in the hospital and those who just come in to check out the books.

“It’s to give them some comfort while they’re away from home. Who doesn’t enjoy reading a good book?” she said.

Randle estimated that they get around 300 books donated each week. The books are placed either in different locations around the medical center or in a central library area.

“A lot of them come and use the hospital as their own little personal library,” she said. “They’ll come and check the books out and look at it and bring it back when they’re done. They really enjoy the novels,  and it helps them in their … social activities by doing something like that. They really enjoy it. It’s a big deal here.”

Blanchard, a retired Army colonel, said the donations have been a good thing for the veterans at the hospital.

“You see a lot of the old guys down there, and they’re sitting around waiting for an appointment or something, and they can find a book and read and pass the time. It’s a good thing to do,” he said. “I enjoy doing it. I own a truck, so I can just load it up and take (the books) down there, so it works out pretty good for us.”