An Unforgettable Veteran Volunteer Experience


Russell Traughber, Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer

What an honor to deliver Heart ‘n Home’s personalized thank you cards to our Vets. I felt so many emotions while expressing thanks to our Veterans. I could write pages. I will never forget this experience.

The WWII Veteran, Mr. S., said to me at about 4:00 p.m. that he thought the “home” would do something for Veteran’s Day, but they didn’t. So Heart ‘n Home hit a home run for him and others, I’m certain. He had served on a hospital ship in the Pacific from 1940 to 1944 as a pharmacy mate. Can you imagine the carnage he must have seen? The number of wounded and dead Marines who fought the Japanese on all of those Pacific Islands? He still remembers. He was so proud of his service that he had to show me his American Legion hat (I was afraid that he was going to fall in his haste to get his hat from the drawer of his bedside table). The four bronze stars on the one ribbon were battle stars!

Anyway, thank you for this opportunity to thank our nation’s Vets. As a Vietnam Era Vet myself, I darn near cried when I opened my card this morning at 5:00 a.m. and saw all the signatures from Heart ‘n Home staff. I volunteer because as a professional administrator who served older persons for 30 years, I know firsthand the loneliness that age and isolation can bring. Providing a small, but very important joy to these Vets was truly a great honor. Thanks again Heart ‘n Home for giving me this great privilege and for my card and flag, too!

My best regards,
Russell Traughber,
Heart ‘n Home Volunteer, Author: Driving The Birds
Shadwell Publishing


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A Flag for a Veteran

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I recently had a patient pass away and I went to the home to deliver the bereavement packet and provide support to the wife.  While there, we filled out the paperwork so she could get the flag for his services.   This is usually something the funeral home does, but this family chose a body donation service so I was able to help them.  Of course, because of our amazing office staff, I had the forms in the Military Honors Packet and was able to easily access what was needed.  I made arrangements with the family to deliver the flag to them this Wednesday.  Anyway, with the completed form, I went to Connie Tanaka at the Veteran’s service office as he was going to obtain the flag.  Later that day I returned to pick up the flag and found that the flag is delivered in a plain cardboard box and needed to be folded.  Connie says “do you want to help me fold it?”  Of course, my first thought was that I didn’t know how to do this, that I may not be qualified, etc., but presenting it to the family in a cardboard box just was not going to do.  While assisting with folding this flag I was reminded of all of the things I see on Facebook about people burning the flag, not honoring the flag, and most recently, not standing for the flag.  What I experienced and felt was this reverence that was beyond what I have ever felt in my 24 years as a Social Worker.  I felt a HUGE sense of responsibility.  This flag is for someone who was willing to lay their life down for this country, for our freedom … this is a VERY significant deal!  As I took this flag with me, and because I am not delivering it to the family until tomorrow, the weight of what I was carrying was heavy.  I knew I needed to honor it, to take care of it, to make sure that nothing happened to it.  I will continue to hold these thoughts until it is safely delivered to the family of this man who fought for my freedom.

In hospice, we get to have some experiences that shape us, change us, guide us, remind us, inspire us … and this is one of those for me.  I appreciate the experiences I get to have and this one goes in the books as a great reminder of the importance of what we do.

Sharla P., LSW, GC-C
Medical Social Services
Fruitland Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care


folder_openInspiring Stories
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When I went to visit a Veteran/Patient of Heart ‘n Home one of the first things he told me about was his pinning ceremony from the Heart ‘n Home Veterans Liaison, and he had to take me to his room to show me his certificate.  He got very tearful sharing about the folks who came to honor him and present him with the pin and certificate.  He said “I didn’t think anybody gave a damn.”  It means so much for him to know that someone is thankful for his service and for him in general.

– Heart ‘n Home Spiritual Care Provider

Honoring Veterans on November 11th and Every Day

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Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a special day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country in the military. These fellow Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Honoring our nation’s Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end.

As our nation marks Veterans Day, Heart ‘n Home deepens our commitment to increase Veterans’ access to compassionate, high quality care. One of the ways we’re making this happen is through our active involvement with We Honor Veterans, an innovative program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization that was created in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There is something else that’s important for every American to do – and that is to say, “thank you” to our country’s Veterans. Not just on November 11, but all year long. Ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers and others in your community whether they have served in the military (you may be surprised how many have) and thank those who have served for their sacrifice.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 Veterans die. That’s more than 680,000 Veterans every year – or 25 percent of all the people who die in this country annually. If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about care options by contacting Heart ‘n Home at 1-800-HOSPICE (800-467-7423).

To all our nation’s Veterans,

Thank you.


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