BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Since the pandemic, residents at the Parkview Julian Nursing Facility had to wait nearly a week to use the two tablets available here at the facility which helped them connect with friends and family, but now thanks to community donations, they now have more than 15 of them, and the veteran who initially asked for the community's help says they are beyond grateful.
"To talk to our families again was like a godsend," said veteran James Jenkins.
James Jenkins, a 45-year-old Vietnam veteran who calls the Parkview Julian Nursing Facility, home, says that since 23ABC shared his story of how he and everyone else at the complex only had two tablets which allowed them to talk with loved ones, things have changed. Since then they have 17 tablets
donated along with, a T.V., DVDs and even socks.
"I was shocked, I really was, so right away we had enough to where four of us could link up now within a day that's miraculous to get a response like that," said Jenkins.
Now that the V.A. contracted facility has multiple tablets in rotation and there is no longer a five-day wait or 15-minute time limit when using one.
Jenkins shares that he has even been able to connect with new veterans online. He has been able to video chat with a buddy whose face he hasn't seen in five years and hosted a virtual veterans meeting for the first time-since the pandemic began.
The Ipads get dropped off and it's like we are in our little group again and that's where we unload and PTSD is real and this helps."
Some of the tablets donated were anonymous according to Jenkins, but 10 of them were donated by the Panama Buena Vista School District and three others by Seth Long of Motor City here in Bakersfield, who says once seeing our story he reached out to his colleagues and family members who raised enough money to give three Ipads and cases.
"I wanted to help in any way possible and I felt called to do it and it touched my heart and I really wanted to help, and just seeing Mr. Jenkins I just really wanted to cry," said Long.
Jenkins says many of the veterans were moved to tears to see their families and friends, but shares that it does become lonely for many of them at times since their in-person activities have been greatly limited because of the pandemic, so the facility is creating a blog on Facebook for them, where they will share, pictures, videos, and letters from the residents and are always looking for pen pals.
Jenkins said, "We are shocked that we could even do this and we have a lot that we would like to share and my psychiatrist years ago told me I should write about my experiences and that led me to write poetry and I hope to share some of that on the blog."
If you would like to connect with residents at Parkview Julian or would like to donate items be sure to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.