Thank Our Veterans: Especially at End of Life

It’s Never Too Late to Say ‘Thank You’ to Our Nation’s Veterans: Even at the End of Life
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care Recognizes and Honors Veterans Every Day, Every Time

Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, 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.

Heart ‘n Home wants to share its commitment to increase Veterans’ access to compassionate, high-quality hospice and palliative care for those who are facing serious and life-limiting illness.  As part of this commitment, Heart ‘n Home is a part of an innovative program, We Honor Veterans, developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Through We Honor Veterans, we are ensuring that our organization is equipped to address the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans.

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.  A generation of World War II and Korean War Veterans are facing end-of-life care decisions now, and they are quickly being followed by younger Vietnam War Veterans, many of whom are confronting serious illnesses at an even earlier age.

The liberty that we, as U.S. citizens, enjoy comes at a price paid by these valiant men and women. Let each of us make sure we do our part to recognize and support them throughout their lives.

If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice and palliative care brings, please reach out and help them learn more about the services that hospice and palliative care can provide. Contact us today to learn more about the ways we support our nation’s heroes.

To all our nation’s Veterans, thank you.

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Related Posts

WWII Veteran Tours Idaho Air National Guard Base

A SPECIAL DAY WITH A WWII VETERAN
Written by: Quinn Bates, Heart ‘n Home Volunteer

In October, he shared with me that his favorite airplane was the A-10 Thunderbolt.  He went on to name the reasons why.  I was amazed to learn this, as I had no idea since it was not a navy plane.  Also, an idea popped into my mind immediately upon hearing this, as I still have connections at the Idaho Air National Guard, where my husband served for 29 years, retiring as a commander and I volunteered in Military Family Support.  Since the Air Guard is A-10 mission based, I thought it could be a nice opportunity to get him a tour so he could see the plane up close, ask questions, and see how they operate.  I asked Gordon that day if he thought he would like for me to pursue this idea.  He said he would think about it, as he wasn’t getting around very well.

After working out the logistics and details with the Lee family and officer at the Idaho Air National Guard, we set the date and proceeded.  I also asked the Lee family if I could involve my own family in this event, since my husband retired from and my son currently serves in the Air National.  Gordon always asks about my husband, since we have shared military stories, so I thought it would be extra special for them to meet.  My son works in the Metals Tech Shop and really enjoys volunteering for veterans.  He is also very talented in welding and machining and I thought he could help me come up with an idea for a special presentation for Gordon (and as you will see later in the story, he had the perfect idea).

The day finally arrived!  I met the Lees just outside the Air National Guard base and we drove in together.  Gordon’s son, daughter-in-law, and her sister joined us for the tour.  We went straight to the 190th Fighter Squadron, where Lt. Col. Mike Knowles and my son, TSgt Phil Bates were waiting for us to arrive.  When they saw us drive up, they came out to the car and took control assisting Mr. Lee into his wheelchair and escorting him for the remainder of the afternoon.  We were taken directly to the very simulator where the pilots do their training.  It is set up just like being in the cockpit of an A-10 with an exact replica of the terrain and movement like flying.  It was an amazing opportunity.  Gordon was not able to climb into the cockpit, but he could sit/stand just behind the pilot seat or watch on a computer screen just outside the room as his family each got a turn flying the simulator.  The 1st Lt. that assisted us in the simulator took his time to explain the buttons, knobs, and dashboard of the A-10 Thunderbolt.

We then followed Lt. Col. Knowles and TSgt Bates, who pushed Gordon in the wheelchair, over to the A-10 main hanger where all the maintenance work is done.  When we arrived, MSgt Mark Klaudt was waiting to greet Gordon and his family and take them on the tour of the hanger floor.  We were lucky enough that there were 4 A-10s in various stages of maintenance on the floor.  MSgt Klaudt explained about the scheduled maintenance programs and answered many questions about the A-10.  He explained the mission of the A-10 and showed the Lee family around so that Gordon could get right up next to the airplane to see many of the important details.  MSgt Klaudt brought out an A-10 bullet casing so that Gordon could see the size of the 30 mm rounds that are fired from the A-10.  (This is something that Gordon had mentioned to me that he really wanted to see.) He also got to witness the maintenance technicians moving a plane out of the hanger back to the flight line.

After an extremely well guided tour of the hanger and airplanes, TSgt Bates took over and took Gordon and his family for a tour of the Metal Tech Shop.  This was where another special surprise awaited Gordon.  My son had an empty A-10 bullet casing.  He wanted to give that to Gordon to show his appreciation for Gordon’s sacrifices.  My son had the bullet casing engraved with Gordon’s name and retired rank and presented it to him at that time.  I think this meant a lot to Gordon, as he mentioned to me before the tour he was really interested in seeing one.  He said he wondered how it would compare to the rounds that were shot from the 20 mm anti-aircraft guns on ships on which he served during WWII.  Then, my husband who had joined us in the hanger and for many years had been the Maintenance Group Commander there, presented Gordon with a book that he thought Gordon would enjoy about the Civil War.  We shared some special moments with these presentations before the tour moved on.

TSgt Bates showed Gordon and his family how they use the computer programs to create parts to repair the A-10s.  He showed them some very intricate samples of what they can achieve in the welding and machining shop.  Then, he took the family on a tour through the shop and they met some of the people who work in that area.

After about 2 ½ hours, we completed the tour and Gordon seemed very happy with his afternoon.  He and the family mentioned many times this was so much more than they anticipated.  Actually, the guardsmen made it so much more than I anticipated as well.

Before leaving the base, Gordon’s daughter-in-law was asking about a helicopter that was on display somewhere on the base.  Gordon’s granddaughter is married to a man who’s father died in an Idaho Army National Guard Helicopter.  I took them to where I thought the display might be, and sure enough we found the replica of the MediVac helicopter with the father’s name painted on the side.  It was a very moving moment for them.

As we left the base and I was riding in the back seat with Gordon’s daughter-in-law, she reiterated to me her appreciation.  She said it had been a very long time since Gordon had been out of the house and that this had been really special.  We agreed to share photos and I told her that I would get her the information about the Veteran’s History Project, which documents Veteran service in the National Archives.

It was a special day for so many reasons….enriching friendships and showing an honored veteran and gentleman a rewarding time.

Gordon’s daughter-in-law called me this week to get addresses for thank you notes to the Air National Guard personnel.  She told me the tour meant so much to Gordon that they are making him a memory book with pictures for his Christmas present.

I recently called to check on Gordon and schedule a monthly visit.  He couldn’t stop talking about that day.  He said he was personally writing thank you notes to all involved.  He told me, “That was one of the best afternoons of my life.”  I am so thankful to be a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer and meet wonderful people like Gordon.  It is so fulfilling and rewarding and enriches my life.

Apply to be a Volunteer today! Click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Appreciation Month

Military Appreciation Month: Because “Thank You” Isn’t Enough

At Heart ‘n Home, we take every opportunity – every day, every time – to affirm the lives of Military Veterans. They’ve done everything asked of them in serving our country and we believe it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home. Please join us in celebrating National Military Appreciation Month which honors current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces with six observances. Learn more.

The Heart ‘n Home team recognizes that every Veteran has a unique story and we go to great lengths to serve our Veteran patients. We’ve partnered with the Veterans Administration, We Honor Veterans, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (Heart ‘n Home is Level 4, the highest) and other organizations to provide our Veteran patients and their families with the best end-of-life care available.

With Heart ‘n Home, Veterans are guided toward a more peaceful ending by experts who address their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, especially service-related. We use a Military History Checklist, work with experts in Veteran Benefits and resources, offer Veteran Community Education and Outreach, participate in Veteran’s groups and events and conduct Pinning and Recognition Ceremonies (family members sometimes travel great distances to participate). Finally, we train Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteers. These special team members offer an important outlet for patients who find great comfort and camaraderie when they share their experiences with a fellow Veteran.

Sometimes, saying “Thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. Take time this month – or any time – to think about the freedoms you enjoy as a US citizen. Then, call or visit a Veteran. Say “Thank you” and tell him or her just what their service means to you. The simple act of affirming a Veteran’s life will affirm yours too!

Learn more about Heart ‘n Home Military Veteran Employees and Honoring Veterans at End of Life.

Ceremony for an Idaho WWII Navy Veteran

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Heart ‘n Home Veteran Pinning Ceremony
Payette, Idaho

July was a special month for me; two of my kids’ birthdays, my 20 year wedding anniversary, and I had the privilege of attending a Heart ‘n Home Veteran Pinning Ceremony in Payette.

When Liz (one of our amazing Social Workers at Heart ‘n Home) asked me if I’d like to attend the ceremony, I was filled with excitement.  Being a Veteran myself, I thought this was a great opportunity to honor those who have gone before me and took the same oath I had taken some years ago.  As part of the Public Relations Team here at Heart ‘n Home, I approached Liz about the possibility of bringing my camera with me so I could take a few photographs of the ceremony.  She spoke with Bob, the Veteran, and his family and they agreed it would be great to have us capture this precious occasion.  Originally I was attending to watch, listen, and observe since this was my first Pinning Ceremony; now I was going to do all those things and photograph the event as well.

As the day approached I was getting more excited to be a part of this special occasion and excited for the possibilities as a photographer as well.  A few days prior to the pinning I met a gentleman in our lobby named Jerry, a retired Army Lt. Col.  Come to find out he is a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer and would be presenting the certificate to Bob in his Class A uniform the day of this special event.

Before I knew it Friday was here.  Charlotte, our Volunteer Coordinator, picked me up in front of the office and we headed off to pick up Jerry before making our way to Bob’s house. As we pulled into Jerry’s driveway, he walked towards us in full dress uniform.  As we were driving to Bob’s house, Jerry shared some stories about his military career as well as stories of his time volunteering with us.  We met up with more of our staff as we pulled into Bob’s driveway.  As we made our way into the house, we were greeted by four of Bob’s children and their spouses as well as his precious wife.

After a few minutes of introductions and a couple snapshots we were ready to begin.  Jerry started off by reading a touching military poem to Bob as well as pinning a small American flag to his lapel.  Billy, our Outreach Coach presented him with a framed certificate of appreciation; followed by Liz giving a heartfelt speech to Bob and his family.  As I was taking photographs and listening to what was going on, I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy, acceptance, and sadness all at the same time.  It was a very emotional experience to say the least.  Many tears were shed and many laughs were had.

As Liz finished sharing, Bob decided to share some stories of his own.  He began to share about his experiences serving during WWII and how he came to meet his wife 65 plus years ago.  Bob served in the Navy during WWII and the memories he shared were very descriptive, just as if we were on the ship with him.  He shared many stories that early Friday evening, one of my favorites was of how he and his wife met so many years ago and how they each shared their own version of how they came to be.  What an amazing life they have shared together all these years and the experiences they’ve had the privilege of sharing with one another.  What a pleasure it was for me to take part in such an amazing part of their lives.  The ceremony to honor Bob as a Veteran is such a meaningful part of what we do here at Heart ‘n Home.  Thank you to Heart ‘n Home, Bob, and his family for letting me take part of this very special occasion.

Kevin Bondy,
Audio and Visual Designer

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