A traffic jam in front of her dying father’s house moved  Chrissy Blood to honor all veterans

  • Chrissy Blood of Moultonborough, holds some of the items that will be given to veterans on Dec. 19, outside the Gilford town offices on Dec. 6. Blood said slippers are the most requested items. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Chrissy Blood of Moultonboro, holds some of the items that will be given to veterans on December 19th, outside the Gilford town offices on Monday, December 6, 2021. Blood said slippers are the most requested items. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chrissy Blood of Moultonboro, holds some of the items that will be given to veterans on December 19th, outside the Gilford town offices on Monday, December 6, 2021. Blood said slippers are the most requested items. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chrissy Blood of Moultonboro holds a photo of her dad outside the Gilford town offices on Monday, December 6, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Wally Green COURTESY—Chrissy Blood

  • Chrissy Blood says she was inspired to give back to veterans following a car parade in her father’s last days. Courtesy of Chrissy Blood

  • Bundles of gifts that Chrissy Blood has collected are stacked waiting to be given to veterans in honor of her dad. Courtesy of Chrissy Blood

  • A corvette passes by the driveway in honor of her father’s service. COURTESY—Chrissy Blood

  • The Willy's coupe that led the parade. —Courtesy

Monitor columnist
Published: 12/6/2021 5:53:46 PM

The first vehicle to curl around his semicircular driveway was a 1940 pearl-white Willys coupe.

The antique hot rod was Wally Green’s favorite car – the kind he had worked on for 15 years, restoring and nurturing, needing only a paint job when Green passed away two summers ago.

By sheer luck, his daughter, Chrissy Blood of Moultonborough, had met someone with a connection to a Willys owner and prearranged to have it lead what she thought would be a modest tribute, a few cars slowly rolling by the house, to her dying father. A final boost for a Navy man.

Instead, perfect strangers from everywhere had created a conga line. Blood and Green watched from his living room as at least 50 cars followed two State Troopers onto and then off the driveway.

Green, suffering various ailments, died the next day, but not before capturing a final thrill, a snapshot of blue lights and sirens, of honking and waving. Blood said her father smiled for the first time in months. He remained attentive, eyes open, and stayed focused for the duration of the parade, when all thought that light had vanished forever.

That’s why Blood does what she does today. So moved was Blood by this outpouring of support, so grateful that people would drive so far to honor a fellow veteran, that she began coordinating gift drives for veterans, fueled by the unselfishness she had seen and felt on her street that day in August of last year.

Her latest project, The Veterans Home Community Gift Drive, is collecting holiday gifts for the men and women at the home in Tilton.

“I was inspired,” Blood said. “I didn’t know there would be that many (vehicles). I thought there would be maybe 10. But I knew something was up when the State Police contacted me and said they wanted to be part of it.

“Some of the people drove 90 minutes to be there.”

That last line stopped Blood in her tracks. The idea that someone would drive that far to honor a perfect stranger moves her tears. “I get emotional,” she said.

She works for the town of Gilford. Her father loved cars. Antiques, classics, hotrods, anything unique. He worked in an auto body shop.

His health declined, but arrangements were made for home hospice care so Green could live out his life in comfort. That’s when Blood began planning.

She posted a note on Facebook, asking anyone with a cool car – or any car – to drive past the house on a certain day to honor Green. Give him some life back. If only for a short while.

“I asked if anyone wanted to give my father a last hurrah,” Blood explained.

Realizing this had turned into something bigger after the State Police called and said they wanted in, Blood positioned her father in front of the big picture window in his living room. She raised his back on the hospital bed so he had a good view.

The 1940 Willys was first. Green nearly finished restoring one himself when he got sick. “Twenty-five percent left to do,” Blood said.

The owner parked across the street, stayed for an hour, gave this old Navy veteran, who had worked on nuclear submarines in the 1970s, a clear view of something he loved.

Next, about 30 cars rolled around the driveway, lined up behind the troopers’ cars, with twirling blue lights and overlapping honking that sounded like rush hour on Storrow Drive.

Twenty more cars followed later. Stragglers joined in now and then. The cars stopped coming after two hours.

“We had the bed up against the window and they all were waving flags and thanking him for his service,” Blood said. “That inspired me. They did not know my dad and that was the longest he had stayed awake and the most smiles he had shown in a really long time.”

Green died 36 hours later. That’s when Blood says she discovered her path in life. At least one of them.

And she’s creative, too. Last summer, Blood, recalling Halloween six years ago, when Green had dressed as a whoopie pie, invented Whoopie on Wheels. Her friend owned a bakery. About 300 whoopie pies were baked, then taken to the Veterans Home in Tilton, an assisted living facility in Meredith and a rehab center in Wolfeboro.

“All those people had ties to my dad somehow,” Blood said. “They all got a whoopie pie.”

She’s set up several partnerships with Meals on Wheels, acting as the broker in a pipeline of goodwill. Groups of children do their arts and crafts thing, making ornaments and cards in schools and at daycare centers. Those items are transferred from innocent hands to Meals on Wheels drivers to wiser hands.

Currently, there’s an Amazon wishlist online, suggesting gifts ideas for the veterans at the home in Tilton. Memory foam slippers. Socks with floor-hugging traction on the bottoms. Painting canvases. Bird feeders.

Items that can be purchased will be sent to a local residence, then sorted and delivered to the Veterans Home on Dec. 19.

Valentine’s Day is the next gift-giving project in Blood’s plan. Then Easter. And on and on. She thinks about her father. More specifically, she thinks about all those people in all those cool cars, beginning with that pearl-white 1940 Willys.

“Yes, I’m always going to try to do this kind of thing,” Blood said. “I think they all deserve it.”

Anyone who wants more info can find the NH Veterans Home Holiday Gift Drive event on Facebook.

Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.

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