Honoring those who served.
Hospice of the Valley has specially trained volunteers who have not only served our country in uniform, but are committed to saluting our veterans from every generation, who are facing end of life.
OUR SALUTING OUR VETERANS PROGRAM INCLUDES:
- A visit from a volunteer who also is a veteran.
- A special lapel pin honoring the patient’s military service.
- A gift of a flag to the patient’s family.
- Participation in community events recognizing veterans.
- Support from staff trained in issues that could emerge at end-of-life,
such as post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Volunteers meet with patients, listen and share stories about military service, and confer the special lapel pin and flag gift. Salutes volunteers say family members often say they hear stories about their loved one’s wartime experiences for the first time during a Salutes visit. The trust and camaraderie between fellow military veterans brings comfort to both.
Robert Wright, 90, was honored with a Salutes presentation at La Loma Care Center in Litchfield Park. Wright’s military service spanned more than 20 years and three wars. He was a Merchant Marine, then joined the U.S. Army in 1949, becoming a Green Beret at age 36. Derek Hayes, retired U.S. Marine master gunnery sergeant and an HOV Salutes volunteer, thanked Wright for his service.
Claude Zenkner survived a harrowing battle at sea when he was a tail gunner with the Navy’s Dauntless Dive Bombers during WWII. Somehow his medals were accidentally lost. HOV Salutes liaison Tom Fenner was determined to find a way to replace them. He moved heaven and earth to make that happen and was thrilled when they finally arrived. A tearful Zenker was deeply moved. “I was amazed he was able to get them!” he said.
Carl and Jennie Piccarreta’s lives were linked from the very beginning. Born in Rochester, NY, they lived a few houses apart. They both served in the military during WWII. After the war they married and raised a family. In their 90s, they both are being cared for by Hospice of the Valley. Salutes volunteer Jimmy Vercellino, a Marine veteran, visited the couple and presented each with lapel flag pins. “Without your bravery, this country would not know the freedoms we experience today,” he said.