NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Although he’s busy preparing himself to serve his country in the United States Army upstate, Kevin Irving refuses to forget about the soldiers in New Rochelle that came before him.
Since enlisting in the military three years ago, whenever Army Pfc. Kevin Irving has had the opportunity to go on leave from his station, he has returned to New Rochelle, where he regularly visits with veterans at the Dumont Center for Rehabilitation.
Irving’s mother, Cheryl - who is a professor and works weekends as a supervisor at Dumont - said that these regular visits began on his first trip back home in 2013, when he simply asked if there were any veterans who could use company at the nursing home.
“The first time, he came in his Army uniform and it was such a wonderful experience,” she said. “Everyone was talking to him and they he said they helped remind him why he enlisted in the first place.”
One resident, John, took a particular liking to Irving, and has stayed in touch with him regularly outside of the visits through phone calls when the opportunity arises. As a special treat for his favorite resident, Irving commissioned a special flag for his friend from the 101st Airborne Division he served in, that was presented to John at their latest visit.
Cheryl said that after shouting “Screaming Eagles!,” they hung the flag over his bed at Dumont, where it still resides. She said that she hopes her son’s story can encourage others to visit their local veterans who may not have close friends of family nearby.
“This is really a soldier connecting with a past soldier. To me, the Army is a brotherhood. It’s a connection. A soldier connects with another soldier and it lasts a lifetime,” she added. “My son’s stint in the Army may be brief and temporary, but his connection to other soldiers will be for life.”