It is such a privilege to be a part of the We Honor Veterans Program. The pinning ceremonies that I have been present at have been meaningful to the patient and their family as well as rewarding for the employees that were in attendance. Vanessa, one of our wonderful Nurses was taking care of a patient. In conversation with the patient, she learned that the patient’s husband was a Veteran. He had never been recognized for his service and until recently he wasn’t able to talk much about his war service.
Vanessa was on a mission. She came back to the office with excitement, purpose, and passion. She shared the story of this war hero with us. Her feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness were contagious. We scheduled a Pinning Ceremony and prepared our materials.
When I arrived at the patient’s home, her husband greeted me at the door and invited me in. His wife was sitting in her chair. She had a lovely smile. She was frail and ill appearing. Two friends were sitting on the sofa. Vanessa, a Heart ‘n Home Nurse and Joe and Tess, Spiritual Care Providers were also present.
When I asked this gentleman where he had served he answered, “Vietnam.”
“You did not come home to a hero’s welcome did you?” I asked.
He stated, “No.” His eyes began to tear up and as he was trying to hold them back he said, “I came home and was called a baby killer.” I apologized that his sacrifices had not been acknowledged and I thanked him and his wife for their service to this great nation. I read the certificate and held it out for him, he accepted it with gratitude. The pin was placed by Joe and the card was read. Finally, this brave war hero was given the appreciation and acceptance that he and his wife deserved. His wife, our patient, passed less than two weeks after the ceremony.
Baker City Volunteer Coordinator
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care