COVID-19 prevents some veterans from seeing family or friends

Due to COVID-19, some local veterans have not been able to see their families for months, however, they say it’s for a good reason.

Rick Raymond has called Retsil, in Port Orchard, home for about two years now. Retsil is a Veterans Home housing folks working to get back on their feet.

Raymond said he found the home at a perfect time in his life.

“It was December 18th one week before Christmas, 2018,” said Raymond.

That’s when Raymond’s home was destroyed in the Port Orchard tornado. A few weeks later he ended up in at Retsil. He said the home has given him peace of mind he did not expect to find.

Retsil sits right on the Puget Sound and has a view of the Naval base at Bremerton. Something, that is very significant for Raymond.

“I joined the Navy in 1976. I was there for 12 years until 1988,” he said.

However, like so many other things, the pandemic has impacted Raymond’s living situation.

“I do miss my family. I haven’t seen any of them since March,” he said.

Due to concerns over some more at-risk folks living on the property, residents are not allowed to have visitors or visit people off-site.

“It’s really hard. You’re away from your families during this tough time. You’re not connected like you would have been,” said Dennis Brown.

Brown is the program manager at Retsil. He said while it is a difficult situation, the reason is to help keep everyone safe. Raymond agrees with the decision.

“I don’t like it. I mean I’d rather be able to go where I want, whenever I want, but the reason for it is something I accept,” he said.

As the holidays approach, Retsil staff know how difficult these times may be for residents. Brown said they are working to make sure it is as festive as possible.

He said they will provide meals, and even work to get gifts for the vets at the home.

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