Honoring Veterans this Independence Day
Posted by Paul Kim, Volunteer
Honoring those who protect our freedom and independence is what inspired me to become a JourneyCare Veteran Volunteer and serve as a Lake County Honor Flight Guardian. I feel that it’s my civic responsibility to give back to those who have sacrificed for this country.
I began serving as a Veteran Volunteer while working as a hospice nurse at JourneyCare and continued after I left the organization. I am committed to continuing the service of Veterans as I was to the patients and their families at JourneyCare. My call of duty was instilled in me during my time in the Army Reserve, where I was able to participate in local community events and learned the importance of staying informed of issues that affect our local community.
I feel that I am to be a service to our community beyond JourneyCare by being part of the Veterans volunteer group.
One example of how we make a difference in Veterans’ lives and remember their service is our Veterans pinning ceremony. I had the honor of recently leading a pinning ceremony for a Veteran. His wife, children and grandchildren were by his side as he lay in his hospital bed while we honored him. We sang the national anthem, saluted him and thanked him and his family for their service and support. He died a few days later. We helped him have a sense of closure and appreciation. I was able to capture a priceless moment when I took his photo surrounded by his family. It was a picture of hope, making a lasting memory in the hearts of the families and the JourneyCare Veteran Volunteers who are part of these special moments.
In addition, my time and experience as a Lake County Honor Flight Guardian was another honorable moment. I was a Guardian for an Air-force Korean War Veteran who had waited for over five years for the opportunity to participate in the Honor Flight—he even applied twice. We visited Washington D.C. going to sites such as the Marine, World War II, Vietnam and Korean War memorials. At our home coming ceremony, my Veteran expressed his appreciation for all who have volunteered and was filled with tears saying all Veterans should have the opportunity to go on this trip of a lifetime.
As we reflect on our Founding Fathers, who answered this country’s call of duty and made sacrifices for our freedom and independence on July 4, 1776, we too must answer a call. For me, giving back by serving our community and honoring those who sacrificed their time and lives for our independence is the answer to this call.
JourneyCare is one of the only nonprofit hospices in the Chicago area that is recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) as a partner in the We Honor Veterans program.
To learn more about JourneyCare’s We Honor Veterans and all the special ways this program helps veteran patients and their families throughout the year, visit journeycare.org/we-honor-veterans.