Everyday Hero: Grace Coy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - High on a wall in a room that serves as the library and public kitchen at the Missouri Veteran's Home in Cape Girardeau, there hangs a sign that reads:  "Grace's Place."

"This is our happy hour spot," said Missouri Veterans Home volunteer Grace Coy.

Two afternoons per week, veterans gather around tables at "Grace's Place" to enjoy each others company. They kick back, share a laugh and may even swap stories.

"You should be here when they start telling their tales from the pacific," said Coy.

Coy hosts Happy Hour for the veterans. She serves them pizza, chips, and even a cold beer if they'd like one.

"She's always got a smile on her face and addresses people nicely," said Army Veteran Lail Bernard of Oran.

At 92 years old, one might think Coy would take it easy, but she enjoys volunteering at the veterans home too much for that.

"My husband was here for eight months," said Coy.  "So, I came here every day. And after he passed away I didn't have anything to do. I was so used to working that I decided to I'd start out really easy and ease into it. Now I'm here basically full time."

Coy volunteers between 20 and 30 hours per week.

"This is our March calendar," said Missouri Veterans Home recreational therapist Margaret George. "She'll be here for poker, she'll be here for bingo. Tomorrow, she'll be here for bingo and Cardo. The next day, bingo, bingo, bingo. She's here a lot."

At the veterans' home, Coy is a sort of lady luck. She deals games of poker, and calls bingo games.

Coy says while the games are fun, she enjoys talking to the veterans the best.

"They're always so happy to see you because some don't have anyone to visit them at all," said Coy. "They're very seldom down."

Coy says when the veterans start telling stories of their time in the service, she really likes to listen.

"My husband was one who didn't talk about it," said Coy. He did what they called hitches in the pacific, but he seldom talked about it."

Coy says the veterans and their stories make her feel closer to her husband of 66 years whose passing inspired her to volunteer.

"I have been married all my life, and worked all my life," said Coy. "It's been a joy, I have no regrets."

If you know someone who should be recognized as an Everyday Hero, click here to make your nomination.

We'll profile an Everyday Hero each month on Heartland News and all of our heroes will be honored at the annual Red Cross recognition luncheon.

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