Local veterans honor Veteran's Day by volunteering

Veteran Keith Hughes helps returning soldiers through the American Legion. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - A 2015 study found that military veterans are more likely to volunteer in their community than the average person, but the reason they do it isn’t always the same.

Many veterans spent Friday volunteering for Veteran’s Day.

Kyle Lemieux joined a group of veterans from the Veterans Conservation Corps to repair trails in Discovery Park.

“It makes me feel alive,” Lemieux said. “Makes me feel the opposite of how I felt when I returned from war.”

Lemieux served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq. He returned with a brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress. He struggled for years, until he started volunteering in the outdoors.

“It makes you feel like there are people out there that matter,” he said. “It’s a rewarding feeling, and I’m happy to be able to do it.”

For Craig Blankenstein, that rewarding feeling is his focus. He spent 38 years serving in the military – first with the Air Force and then the National Guard. Now he volunteers with the Red Cross about 90 hours each month.

This Veteran’s Day, Blankenstein went house to house installing smoke detectors free of charge.

“This is my community and these are my neighbors,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

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