BAYADA Hospice Honors Veterans
For the second consecutive year, BAYADA Hospice honored its veteran patients during Veterans Day week of 2014 by visiting them and providing a unique recognition.
”We sat with each patient for about an hour talking about their time in service and life in general,“ explained BAYADA Client Services Manager and US Navy veteran Mayumi Kimura. She was joined in the visits by BAYADA volunteer Brett Vuyovich, a US Army veteran. BAYADA team members presented a number of items of recognition to the veterans and also honored the patients’ family caregivers for their sacrifices with a poem and flowers.
The project began in 2013 when Kimura asked a friend on active duty to write a letter to a veteran patient who was having difficulty coming to terms with actions he had taken during combat in World War II as he approached the end of life. The letter she received from Navy Petty Officer Eric Wagner, who was serving in Germany, spoke of the gratitude for this patient and his comrades for providing peace and told him of a ”land [that] has healed.”
The letter was so impactful to those who read it that Kimura sought out more letters from veterans and active duty members. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Susana Sanchez wrote, ”Thank you for showing us how it needed to get done and for doing it so willingly. It was not in vain and I pray that if you should ever wonder if was worth it, you remember that it was.“ Another letter from US Navy veteran Liaunna Schermerhorn said, ”You fought in a war with no promise to prevail and unknowing if you would return to your families, you changed the lives for Americans for lifetimes to come. You will never be forgotten and you will forever be MY hero!“
”It was pretty amazing,“ said Kimura, who also shared a letter of thanks. ”A very humbling experience for all of us.“
As a partner in the We Honor Vets initiative of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, BAYADA Hospice trains staff to address the unique needs of veterans at the end of life and develops programs to honor them for their service.