Hospice of St. Francis program honors veterans individually

We Honor Veterans volunteer George Herbeck and World War II Navy veteran Barbara Parry discuss the handmade quilt presented to her during a pinning ceremony to honor her military service.

While holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day honor all veterans for their service, the Hospice of St. Francis in Titusville’s We Honor Veterans program does so individually.

This is done through pinning ceremonies, during which the veteran’s service is commemorated and he or she is presented with meaningful patriotic memorabilia. Each veteran receives a specially designed pin, a table top American flag, a certificate from Hospice of St. Francis, a branch specific baseball cap and a quilt donated by local quilters.

"In preparation, a veteran volunteer meets with the patient to talk about his or her service and why it is important," said Mary Larson, director of Community Engagement at Hospice of St. Francis. "Often veterans don’t understand the special recognition, because they were only doing their job."

Preparation for the recognition ceremony starts well ahead of time.

"The volunteer researches the individual’s service, including their assignments, awards, schools and combat experience, for inclusion in a short program during the pinning ceremony."

Attendance can range from the one veteran and a few family members to larger gatherings.

Barbara Parry, a 96 year-old who served in the Navy during World War II, recently was honored.

We Honor Veterans volunteer George Herbeck helped her prepare.

"Since he is also a Navy veteran, his questions were very apropos," Parry said. "He helped me remember things I had forgotten after all these years. His presentation to my family was impressive."

Parry knew she was serving her country during a difficult time.

"I enjoyed every minute of my service, except swabbing the deck, as we called it then," she said. "I met some amazing people and I’m glad I served."

Parry appreciates the patriotic memorabilia she received during her pinning. 

"I especially love my handmade quilt. It is beautiful and I sleep with it every night," she said.

We Honor Veterans is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"The pinning services are conducted throughout Brevard County," Larson said. "We bring the service to where the patients live."

For information, call 321-269-4240 or go to hospiceofstfrancis.com/services/programs/we-honor-veterans