ProMedica Hospice Serving Southwest Michigan (Kalamazoo) recently honored the veteran patients at ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation (Three Rivers, MI) with a pinning ceremony. The teams from both services worked together to hold this special event on Veterans Day.
Pinning ceremonies is a way for hospice music therapists, chaplains, veteran volunteers and volunteer coordinators to say “thank you” to veterans for the sacrifices they have made in serving us. America’s veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and we believe it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home.
The music therapist opened the ceremony by singing “America the Beautiful” and the hospice team continued the event by passing out flags, reading the veterans’ names, and giving each veteran a pin, a star from retired U.S. flags and a certificate thanking them for their sacrifices for our country. Local elementary schools and churches also sent several cards and artwork to show their appreciation. Applebee’s in Three Rivers, Michigan, provided lunch for the veterans.
Kathy Shults recently retired after 35 years with ProMedica, but she still wanted to help honor the veteran patients at the center by donating handmade quilts she crafted with her daughter. The quilts were given to each veteran in attendance.
Karla, a veteran resident, stated, “Having these special days thanking us for our service is a reminder that I made the right decision so many years ago.”
Caleb Brooks, the senior administrator, shared, “I think if you take a moment to observe the many sacrifices our veterans have made, it is easy to understand why ProMedica, the community, health care partners and the We Honor Veterans program are so eager to serve them for a change. Having pinning ceremonies for our veterans is the least we can do as they have given so much of themselves to this country. It isn’t too much to take the time and simply say ‘thank you for your service’ to a veteran.”
Ken Herson, Air Force veteran and seven-year ProMedica veteran volunteer, was there to honor his fellow veterans.“In my role as a veteran volunteer, I have the privilege to honor my fellow service men and women. Each pinning ceremony is unique to the veteran and the experience they had in the military. Many ceremonies bring the veterans to tears, especially those that were not welcomed home,” he said. “I will always remember one pinning ceremony where a veteran had invited his four friends, all of whom served in the same era but different branches. We were able to acknowledge each of those men and honor them alongside their friend and veteran patient. The comradery flowed and they brought me into their band of brothers without missing a beat. Being a veteran volunteer with ProMedica means a lot to me. Doing something so little that means so much to not only the veteran but also the family members fills me with anticipation for the next ceremony and has enriched my retirement immensely.”