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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Jazz Hamilton and other members of the Salvation Army set up place mats and distribute doughnuts to veterans in the VA Nursing Home.

A simple doughnut may not seem like much. But veteran Art Nunn, 63, was touched by the tribute to veterans Thursday at the VA Nursing Home.

"It's a very nice thing to do," Nunn said. The delivery Thursday by the Salvation Army was the continuation of a tradition that started in World War I.

The original doughnuts were delivered — mostly by young women — to soldiers on the front line, said Maj. James Sullivan, director of the Salt Lake Salvation Army.

Those doughnuts didn't taste very good, said Sullivan, who's tried the recipe himself. But the attention made a world of difference for soldiers.

"They wrote letters, they just cared for them," he said of the volunteers. "The Salvation Army doughnut became an institution."

On Thursday, place mats colored by youths participating in a Salvation Army after-school program were also delivered to veterans. And members of the National Veterans Awareness Ride were set to pull in Thursday afternoon to visit with them .

Debra Taylor, director of nursing at the VA Nursing Home, says several groups support the veterans, and it's all welcome.

"You tell them thank you, and it really hits home," Taylor said. Even patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease are moved to tears when visitors say "thank you."

Thursday's doughnut delivery was part of the organization's marking national Salvation Army Week. The celebration concludes Saturday with customer appreciation at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, 3460 S. 5600 West, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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