Recognizing military service is very important to those at Hamilton Hospice and Hamilton Home Health.
Throughout the year, Hamilton Hospice recognizes veterans. The Veteran’s Recognition Certificate is presented at family gatherings. The gatherings include the reading of poems, singing and reminiscing with family and friends.
Additionally, throughout the year, social workers coordinate with Veterans Affairs in getting benefits for patients who are veterans. On Veterans Day, thank-you cards and flags are given out. And at Hamilton Hospice celebration of life services, held each spring, veterans are recognized through the display of a veterans wreath and candle, and through the reading of their veteran status during a special bell ringing ceremony.
Hamilton Hospice began recognizing Veterans formally in 2010 when Mark Elam, MD, hospice medical director, made the recommendation to present a Veteran’s Recognition Certificate to veteran patients.
“I think it is the most important thing we’ve added to the program,” said Elam. “For veterans to receive recognition, it means everything, especially for Vietnam veterans.” Elam served as a physician with the U.S. Army, completing his service as a major. He practiced medicine at multiple military hospitals including the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany (serving during the fall of the Berlin Wall). Also, he comes from a family of veterans, with his father and uncles serving in WWII.
Hospice chaplain Tommy Deal agreed. “It is such an honor to recognize our veteran patients in this way,” he said. “To say ‘thank you’ to them is important in recognizing the whole person God has created, and [He] has allowed us to serve [during] this time.”
Neal Brannen, RN, hospice case manager, served in the U.S. Navy as a 1st class petty officer/sonar technician. Often Brannen presents the certificate to hospice patients. “It is a very emotional moment to watch a veteran from one generation paying tribute to a veteran from another,” said Ann Larkin-Huff, hospice social worker. Larkin-Huff fondly remembers stories of her father’s time in service, which sparked her aspiration to honor veterans through her work today.
Several other team members at Hamilton Hospice and Hamilton Home Health are veterans or have strong ties to service members. They include:
- Daryl Silver – served as an infantry medic
- Kristie Ferguson-Johnson – father served in the U.S. Marine Corps and nephew is a U.S. Marine in active service
- Deb Barnes – father served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea, son serving in U.S. Army
- Tiffany Coker – father served in U.S. Army
- Derek Crum – father served in U.S. Army, stationed in Korea
- Mary Green – father served in U.S. Army, brother served in U.S. Marine Corps
- Megan Little – grandfather served in U.S. Air Force (WWII), cousin is serving in U.S. Navy
- Mandy Preston – son is serving in U.S. Navy
- Candi Sanders – husband served in U.S. Army
- Evelyn Wall – father served in U.S. Army (Korea)
- Heather White – husband served in U.S. Marine Corps.