More than 1,800 veterans die every day in America. At Hosparus Health we honor our veterans through We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We Honor Veterans is an ongoing and growing program to recognize the sacrifices these men and women made for us and to ensure they receive exceptional quality care at the end of life. We rely on a core group of patient care and veteran volunteers to help us serve our veterans at this most important time of their lives.
Honor Flight was founded to ensure that every WWII veteran (or veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars) has the opportunity to visit the War Memorials in Washington, D.C., for FREE. Top priority is given to veterans from any war who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Often those traveling need wheelchair and personal assistance. It was our honor to donate three wheelchairs to Honor Flight to use during trips from Louisville to D.C. as a very small way to honor our local veterans.
President and CEO Phil Marshall and SVP/Chief Marketing Officer Gwen Cooper joined hundreds of supporters bright and early at Louisville International Airport a few months ago to thank the vets boarding the flight and wish them well on their trip to D.C. A huge crowd greeted them in Washington, and hundreds more were back at Louisville International to welcome them home that night.
A Rewarding Experience
Don Parsons is a Korean War Army Veteran, whose daughter, Donna Frank is on the staff at Hosparus Health. Donna suggested that Don become a We Honor Veterans volunteer and he’s been doing data entry for medical records ever since. Don says he was fortunate to travel on the recent Honor Flight alongside about 150 other heroes and their family members, and it was an experience he will never forget.
“Outside the birth of my three daughters, it was the best day of my life,” he says. “It was a once in a lifetime event, and you just knew everyone felt the same way. It was like joy at Christmastime.”
He adds that while seeing the war memorials in Washington was a moving experience, he was equally inspired by how many people — most of them strangers — turned out to support him and his comrades in arms. “When we got back, and it was like a national convention!” he says. “It was amazing.”
An Opportunity for Hosparus Health
Hosparus Health board member, Dr. Todd Schmiedeler, SVP of Employee Services and Foundation for Trilogy Health Services, recently heard about Honor Flight, and thought it would be a great flagship initiative for his company’s Live A Dream Foundation.
Over the next year, Trilogy will fund 100 guardians (each Veteran has a personal “guardian” joining them on the trips) to accompany vets living at Trilogy facilities on Honor Flights. Todd chose to be the first Trilogy guardian on the May flight, and he was incredibly touched by the experience.
Honor Flight allowed his vet, Art Hardy, “to stand a little taller.” Todd told us that “it was incredible to see how energizing this day was for his resident.”
Todd sees the parallel missions between Hosparus Health and Honor Flight. “Our job is not just to care for people, it’s to make sure they feel cared about,” he says. “I believe Hosparus Health does that very well. And Honor Flight is an opportunity for vets to feel cared about.”
“Hosparus Health has an opportunity to identify people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to go on a flight, and be able to offer that as a lasting legacy,” continues Todd. “As a board member, I think it’s a terrific opportunity and a great fit for our organization and I look forward to getting more of our patients and volunteers involved.”
We agree, and see this as another way for our patients to experience special moments at the end of life that might not otherwise be possible.