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Bakersfield veteran seeks tablet, iPad donations from the community to help veterans stay connected

Posted at 11:58 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 05:07:32-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Facetime and Zoom are how many are staying connected and safe during the pandemic, but for some, that technology is not as accessible. That's the case at Parkview Julian nursing home, and one veteran, James Jenkins is asking for the community's help to change that. He is asking for anyone to donate iPad's/tablets to video chat with loved ones.

It’s been eight months since 75-year-old James Jenkins, a Vietnam veteran left his home. Jenkins lives at the Parkview Julian Nursing Home Facility in South Bakersfield.

"It's not just the loneliness but a veteran that has nothing to do your mind seems to wander, basically, you are stuck in here with no outlet," said Jenkins.

Nearly 100 people, which include 40 veterans, also call this place home as Jenkins says a shortage of technology is taking a toll on his and other’s well being.

"I have scars from that war all over my body, but the deepest scars--the ones that hurt me the worse are the ones I carry up here [points to head] and just being able to talk to my family means a lot to me and the other vets," added Jenkins.

With only two iPads/tablets for use in the facility, it can be tough to connect with family and friends. He says it can be up to a four to five-day wait until a tablet becomes available, and even then the time is limited. Jenkins says the isolation is tough on mental health.

"Just to be able to push a couple of buttons and talking to live is amazing. Most of us grew up during the rotary phone era so this is like Star Wars to us. This would bring us back to our families or just being able to interact with a human being is everything," said Jenkins.

The Army veteran says that the smallest social interactions have been taken away due to the pandemic such as having visitors, his veteran group meetings, but believes that the tablets could help with that multi-use purpose.

"To be able to talk --to reach out to your doctor, your VA doctor, and talk like how you and I are talking that's what the iPads the two we have now are used for and to talk to your psychiatrist or therapist. I haven't talked to my Vietnam group since this happened. I would love to see how the guys are doing."

Jenkins says just getting five tablets donated would make their Christmas bright, and to know they are not forgotten.

"It would raise the morale here greatly and we haven't laughed in a while and anything would be greatly appreciated," Jenkins said.

To get in contact with the facility or donate a tablet or iPad you can do so by reaching out through administrator@parkviewjulian.com.