One out of every four dying Americans is a Veteran. Simple acts of gratitude at the end of life can provide a final opportunity for Veterans to know that their service was not in vain.
Each HopeWest Veteran patient receives a patriotic quilt handmade by volunteers. The HopeWest team also commemorates service with a special pinning ceremony.
The HopeWest We Honor Veterans Committee was established in 2010. The committee includes staff and volunteers devoted to recognizing veterans, enhancing education based on veteran’s needs, identifying resources and collaborating with our local community.
Hospice-Veteran Partnerships are coalitions of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, community hospices, State Hospice Organizations, and others working together to ensure that excellent care at the end of life is available for our nation’s Veterans and their families.
HopeWest has achieved level 2 status in the nation-wide program because of dedication to staff education, connection to community resources and special recognition ceremonies.
Recognizing our Veterans
“It is such an honor to serve our veteran patients at HopeWest that so bravely served our country,” stated Beth Brown, Clinical Manager and longtime nurse at HopeWest.
Beth is an advocate for veterans and leads the HopeWest We Honor Veterans Committee that was established six years ago. The committee is comprised of staff and volunteers devoted to recognizing veterans, enhancing education based on veteran’s needs, identifying resources and collaborating with our local community.
Just recently Dick Johnson, a patient in the hospice program, was recognized for his service while staying at the HopeWest Hospice Care Center. “They presented my dad Dick with a certificate of thanks signed by all the staff, gave a speech in his honor, draped a patriotic quilt – handmade by volunteers – over his lap and pinned a double flag pin on his chest,” said Darcy Michael, daughter of Dick Johnson. “We were impressed the whole staff came in and the ceremony was very heartfelt.”
Dick was very moved by the experience. “The staff recognizing me, I think it would mean a great deal to any soldier that served this country. It sure does to me,” said Dick.
“Our whole family, including dad, teared up,” said Darcy. “It was a very emotional experience for everyone. He was very appreciative. We are all very appreciative.”
Surrounded by his closest family and friends, Dick Johnson, a patient at HopeWest, is honored for his service to our country by staff at the HopeWest Hospice Care Center in Grand Junction. Thank you to those who have served our country. We appreciate you!
A Tradition of Service
It’s a family thing for George and Joy Arnold. As you walk into their living room, military photos grace the main wall. It’s there that you can see all the generations who’ve protected our country and freedom. If fact, four generations of the Arnold’s loved ones have served our county in all branches of the armed forces. Their three daughters even married servicemen.
For George, it was the Air Force. He enlisted in 1968 followed by an Army Guard Post in 1975. While in the Air Force he was trained in explosive ordnance disposal and took three tours in Vietnam. Following his time in the Air Force, George worked as a machinist and relocated from Mississippi to Grand Junction where he met his wife Joy and raised a blended family of six children.
Today, his family is still close with the support of HopeWest. George suffered a stroke in 2007 and has had several heart related health problems in the years since. “HopeWest has allowed us to remain in our home,” said Joy. “Much of what HopeWest does is for the caregiver – they just do so much. We don’t feel alone anymore because I always have someone to call, day or night, when I need help. Our nurse can even do blood draws right here at our house.”
George and Joy live with George’s mother and Joy’s mother and father. And of course, their two dogs who can regularly be found cuddling up to George. Staying home allows George to enjoy his favorite pastimes too. You can often find him out in his hobby shed working on one project or another.
This summer, George was honored with a veteran pinning ceremony by HopeWest. With his wife and mother by his side, George’s HopeWest care team presented him with a patriotic pin and beautiful lap quilt to honor his service to our country. The quilt held special meaning as it also brought back fond memories of his childhood. “George chose the quilt with a rail fence pattern because it reminded him of the quilts his grandmother used to make and one he used to sleep under as a child,” said his HopeWest Social Worker, Cindy Webb. “The way these patriotic quilts touch veteran’s lives, it’s just incredible. It’s so rewarding to give back to them after what they’ve done for our country.”
And the feeling is mutual. “We feel blessed by HopeWest,” said Joy. “The care is unbelievably wonderful and what they did for George was so meaningful for our entire family.”