A WWII Army Veteran, my father told many stories of basic training at Schofield Barracks just outside of Honolulu. We heard about the 50-mile uphill marches while carrying 100-pound packs in the midday sun with 100 percent humidity. He described his boxing matches (he was super fit and trained hard, but got clobbered every time). We heard about surfing, pig roasts, and bonfires on the beach, many of which lasted until Reveille. We enjoyed my father’s stories very much, but we didn’t realize that he probably had more that he kept to himself.
When asked what she liked about volunteering she said, "I like to help others. There is nothing more special than to walk into a patient’s home or room and see their eyes light up and a smile come on their faces. They may not remember my name, but they seem to know me."
WWII-Veteran-Tours-Idaho-National-GuardLooking back over the last one and a half years, my life has been so enriched by meeting and serving a humble and honorable WWII veteran, Gordon Lee. He was one of the first patient assignments I was given as a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer. I met him shortly after his wife passed away. He was so gracious to me, even though he was going through the pain and grieving his loss. We hit it off quickly, as we found out about each others military connections. I remember thinking what an honor it was to serve this man who sacrificed for our country. As the months went by, I learned more about his service. He shared his story with me, and a written version of it as well. I was so amazed at his humbleness in all that he had sacrificed and given.
I had an experience recently that made me realize what a catalyst our pet therapy dogs can be in taking that familiar walk down memory lane. I have always been on the other end of the leash with my dog while doing Pet Therapy. Part of me loves visiting with the patients and enjoying their interaction with my dog while the other part of me is busy keeping my eyes on my dog to make sure he is behaving.