Proud To Be a Veteran and Volunteer
Posted by Rick Davis, Veteran Volunteer
As a Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, I’m well-aware of the sacrifices our men and women make to serve their country in the armed forces. And as a hospice volunteer who works primarily with veterans, I’m able to express my gratitude to veterans for their service in multiple ways.
Time visiting with a veteran and his or her family ̶ the sharing of stories and experiences ̶ are some of the most precious moments in my life. The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fi, meaning always faithful to God, country, and your fellow marine. Well, JourneyCare's volunteer program enables me to carry out that mission not only to other marines but to all veterans.
Because of JourneyCare 's involvement in the We Honor Veterans program, I can honor a veteran for his or her service in an individual ceremony or as part of a group.
Recently volunteer Alan Blechman, who is also a veteran, and I joined JourneyCare’s Memorial Day celebration at a retirement home in Evanston. There must have been more than 80 people who showed up for our brief ceremony honoring veterans who have given their lives for their country. We opened the program with a live bugler playing Call to Assembly, and Alan and I led the assembly in saying the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. As part of the ceremony, a woman from Songs by Heart sang the song of each branch of service ̶ Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. As she sang, veterans of that branch of service were asked to stand and be recognized with a pin thanking them for their service. We ended the program singing several patriotic songs.
It was a nice program that all thoroughly enjoyed. However, the most meaningful moment for me happened after the ceremony when a resident approached me and Alan to thank us for our work with JourneyCare. She explained that her husband passed two years ago and he spent eight months in hospice. She could not say enough good things about how everyone from hospice, but especially the volunteers, made that period bearable not only for her husband and her, but for the entire family including the grandchildren. It was a touching moment that brought a tear to everyone's eye. It also served as a reminder why our work is so valuable and worthwhile.
I am often asked why I volunteer for JourneyCare. It is quite simple. Helping veterans and their loved ones make their remaining time together memorable brings great joy to all ... especially me!
If you're interested in being a veteran volunteer with JourneyCare, learn more here!
Learn more about JourneyCare's We Honor Veterans program at journeycare.org/we-honor-veterans.