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PANA (Illinois News Network) — Veterans in hospice care are being honored by fellow vets with pinning ceremonies to commemorate their service in the armed forces.
Rachael Flesch-Springate, volunteer coordinator for Quad County Hospice, which services Christian, Shelby, Fayette and Montgomery counties, said the center started the “No Veteran Will Die Alone” program in conjunction with the organization We Honor Veterans in June 2017.
In the program, veterans in hospice care receive pinning ceremonies from volunteers made up of veterans, and members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Flesch-Springate said the importance of the event is about the camaraderie between veterans.
“It is all based off pairing veterans to another veteran in hospice care and the importance of it is having that bonding relationship, the companionship,” Flesch-Springate said.
The program is privately funded and volunteers give donations, often in the forms of pillows and blankets, which are presented to patients during the pinning ceremonies.
“We give out a blanket of their branch of service and a pillow that is handmade by volunteers,” Flesch-Springate said. “That is all donated by volunteers.”
Flesch-Springate said each pinning ceremony thus far has been unique in its own way, and the events are often very emotional. If the events occur at the veteran’s home, friends and neighbors will often attend.
“So far, it has just been very emotional,” Flesh-Springate said. “There has not been one dry eye at any pinning ceremonies. Most of them are, you know, it is all happy tears and sad at the same time.”
Flesch-Springate said she hopes the events will help spur awareness to honor veterans while they are still alive.
“What I am hopeful for, for the future of this program is to make awareness that our veterans are needing to be honored before and also after they have passed,” Flesch-Springate said.
The Quad County Hospice program is one of just four programs in the Illinois and Indiana area to achieve a four-star rating for veteran’s care, Flesch-Springate said.
She said anyone wanting to know more or who can help should call her at 217-562-6380.