We are proud of our volunteers and we continue to add new services. Among these are services targeted to veterans, both volunteers and patients. Our veteran volunteers not only support and provide companionship to our patients, but they also assist with Gilchrist’s We Honor Veterans program, which is offered in collaboration with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This program focuses on respect, compassionate listening and gratitude for the men and women who served for our country.
Our staff and volunteers have learned through training the best way to “walk with” our hospice veterans as they find a peaceful ending. Volunteers have played a vital role in our efforts to learn the stories behind our patients’ service; it is often the volunteer who spends hours with patients encouraging them to tell their stories as the volunteers listen with respect, patience and a non-judgmental ear, as well as sing songs or say a simple prayer for those soldiers who are no longer with us.
A highlight of this program is its “pinning ceremony” in which our veterans receive a pin that commemorates their military service. To date, our veteran volunteers have been both the recipients of these pins and taken an active part in pinning ceremonies for our veteran patients.
The script is always the same: “Thank you for your service to our nation. Thank you for the sacrifices you made to serve our country. You endured hardships and were willing to risk your life to maintain our freedom. It is an honor to present you with this pin from Gilchrist Hospice Care staff and volunteers as a token of our deep thanks and gratitude. When you see this pin, know that your service to the nation is deeply appreciated. We thank you.”
At Gilchrist, we are proud to be part of this amazing program, especially during November, the month we celebrate Veterans Day (November 11). If you would like to be part of our volunteer program and help support our veterans please contact me at 443-849-8239 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.