On a beautiful summer morning, surrounded by the pine trees of La Pine, Oregon, we had the great pleasure to honor local Veteran, Dan Henry for his service to our country. Dan was a bagpiper for the Oregon Army National Guard for 9 years. Dan, deservingly, is very proud of serving his country through the Army National Guard.
Dan was recognized in a Veteran Pinning Ceremony presented by the Heart ‘n Home Hospice team. Not only is Dan a patient with Heart ‘n Home, but for many years he was a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer through the local Band of Brothers Chapter. Together with the Band of Brothers Heart ‘n Home works towards honoring all Veterans of the community. “The Band of Brothers is one of the Veteran organizations in our town. The past president worked with our La Pine Heart ‘n Home staff and Exectutive Director, Diana Hergenrader, to develop a certificate that is presented to Veterans on hospice care. Once that certificate was developed, our Heart ‘n Home Veteran Volunteers started presenting the honorary Band of Brothers certificate of membership to Veteran patients. Each of our Veteran Volunteers are currently members of Band of Brother,” Theresa Hanes, Volunteer Coordinator, explains.
Taking this time to recognize Dan, in this special ceremony, was made more meaningful because of his previous involvement in recognizing other Veterans. Dan, as a member of the Band of Brothers and a Volunteer with Heart ‘n Home, has helped at numerous Veteran Pinnings. He also proudly volunteered to serve in his community before he became ill. Because he has given so much of his time in service of others, It was a pleasure to take this time to honor him.
Decked out in his full kilt and uniform, Dan stands proud for a photo. “Not only does Dan have stories about his time in the Guard and as a local firefighter, but his uniform itself tells a proud story of service, honor, and loyalty,” Heart ‘n Home Care Navigator, Mandy Putzier, relays the story and history that Dan shared with her. “He began by telling me about the skull and crossbones on his uniform. This was something he bought for his Dad and was gifted back to him before his Dad’s passing,” she shares. “The kilt he dons is his family tartan which is called Clan Buchanan. He also wears a 1933 Gordon Highlanders sporran in the front of his kilt. The purpose of the sporran is because kilts have no pockets and the sporran not only dresses up the kilt but it also has pockets on it making it functional. He has another silver fox sporran that was made for him by a local taxidermist in the valley. “The white spats on his shoes are to dress up the uniform. The hat he wears is called a Glengarry and it’s always worn crooked, being slightly cocked to the right. He wears a clan crest and the fuzz on the hat is a bear hackle. The hackle comes from in between a bear’s shoulder blades. This part of the bear rises when a bear is angry. He was awarded the bear hackle by the Clan Buccannan of Willamette Valley Bagpipe Association due to his ability and that he was only one of a few successful bagpipe players,” Mandy tells.
“Even the colors in his kilt skirt all have meaning, which Dan discovered in his research of his family clan history. The green and the blue represent posterity while the red represents blood lost in battle. The yellow and red mean cowardness shown in battle. The green and yellow signify the clan had to pay money to get out of a situation. The white and dark stripes are to break up the pattern. There is also a ribbon around his calf; it is red and is known as a flash. This was used to hold socks up in the past; not unlike a garter to hold up dress socks. Now the intent is to add flare to the ensemble. The sash is called a Baldric. This is considered a pipers sash in uniform. This was originally worn to keep a sword, but pipers are not allowed to carry weapons except for a dirk, which is a long dagger. The bagpipes themselves are considered a weapon of war,” Mandy concludes.
Dan’s family attended the ceremony which honored his service. Unfortunately, with Covid restrictions his fellow Volunteers and Band of Brothers were unable to attend, but I’m sure they would have if possible. With each part of his uniform in place, Dan humbly accepts a card from the whole hospice team and a certificate is presented to him.
Along with the certificate, an American flag pin is pinned to his lapel by Mandy.
He was comforted by his RN, Case Manager Billy, and his daughter Jennifer as he shed tears of honor.
Heart ‘n Home employees, Russell, Elizabeth, and Billy take part in the presentation.
Dan stands with Executive Director Diana and salutes the flag.
Two patriotic pillowcases were presented to Dan. They were sewn with care by Care Navigator, Mandy. Many people in the La Pine area have a great love for quilting and sewing. These pillowcases not only provide comfortable place to lay his head, but will serve as a daily reminder of our appreciation of Dan’s service.
Heart ‘n Home proudly honors not only our Veteran patients, but all Veterans. It was truly our pleasure to recognize someone so dear to us. Dan has done his part to recognize many other Veterans, we were happy to return the favor. “Dan is pretty special to our team so it means a lot to us that we can do this for him,” Mandy states then continues. “A picture can tell a thousand words…and in Dan’s case the picture of him in his kilt receiving his Veteran certificate, presented by his Heart ‘n Home care team, surrounded by his family tells a lifetime of stories.”