Center for Hospice Care (CHC) and the Hospice Foundation take great pride in serving veterans, as many of the patients they serve are former military personnel. The evening started at the Captain Robert J. Hiler Jr. Veterans Memorial to dedicate items that were purchased by loved ones in honor or memory of a veteran. The memorial, located on the scenic St. Joseph River, offers many beautiful ways to honor veterans including plaques, benches, bricks, trees, and a variety of other memorial pieces.
Center for Hospice Care is a level 4 “We Honor Veterans” partner and is working towards their level 5 partnership, which is the newest and highest level of membership. Communications and Events Coordinator for Hospice Foundation, Hannah Nichols, says a great thing about their veteran’s memorial is that it is isn’t limited to Center for Hospice Care patients and their families, but is open to anyone in the community that wants to honor a veteran.
“We just really believe in serving those who have served us,” Nichols said. “It’s amazing how many veterans say they have never received a ‘thank you for your service’, which is why we make sure to thank our veterans and have this service available to the community.”
Center for Hospice Care honors veterans in a number of ways through pinning ceremonies, honor flights, staff training, volunteer training, veterans end-of-life services, Vet-to-Vet cafes, and partnering with nationwide organizations focused on veteran’s healthcare. Community and Engagement Liaison for CHC, Peter Ashley, recognizes that there isn’t a lot of time left to thank many veterans, so anytime you’re given the opportunity, take it.
“One in four people who are dying today is a veteran, which means we’re running out of time to thank many older veterans, so it’s critically important that we do that and help facilitate those ‘thank you’s’,” Ashley said. “It’s been such a wonderful experience to get to know veterans and understand what they’ve been through and be able to thank them for their service.”
The keynote speaker of the night was Scott Brewer, Chief Master Sergeant for the US Air Force (Retired), Pokagon citizen and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Relations, and Security with the Pokagon Band and Four Winds Casinos. He was honored to be the speaker and be in the same room as so many veterans including a few from WWII. For him, it was all about highlighting the service of those behind the scenes as well as those who stay at home.
“It takes 118 people to fly a plane, and if we look at any job, it takes a lot of people to get that job done,” Brewer said. “It’s not just the guy that wears the uniform, it’s those that stay behind to support him so that he knows the Homefront is taken care of which makes it easier to serve.”
Some words of wisdom from Brewer are “if you see a vet, don’t judge them, thank them.”