XENIA — Through Hospice of Dayton, veteran volunteers are bringing peace and honor to the bedsides of dying veterans.
American Pride, a program that provides veteran care by Ohio’s Hospice in partnering facilities, honors veterans with one last ceremony.
Ohio’s Hospice Chief of Veteran Services Glenn Costie said volunteers act quickly when they learn a fellow veteran is ready for the special service.
“These folks assemble on their own and they show up,” Costie said. “They read the creed of the branch of service that the veteran served in. There’s a script that they do that ends in prayer. Then they end the ceremony with a slow military salute that only the veterans know how to do.”
Costie called it a meaningful experience, regardless of that individual’s mental and physical state.
“Some of our veterans and patients are non-responsive but we still think they can hear us and we notice that when we start reading the creed or we try to offer the military salute, they sense that and either their feet will stir a little bit or they’ll try to raise their arm and give back the salute,” Costie said. “If they are conscious and able to interact with us, many folks use the opportunity to get something off their chest, maybe something they did in the military that they didn’t agree with morally.”
The American Pride program also assures access to veteran-eligible benefits, and celebrates veterans’ lives through Honor Flight, pinning ceremonies and special celebrations. Beginning later this year, veterans will have the chance to visit various war memorials through a virtual reality experience.
“These are videos you watch that are 360 degrees so you can spin around, really see what’s around there. You feel like you’re there,” Costie said. “If you can’t make it to Washington to see your memorial, there’s a way you can experience this virtually.”
Costie told Greene County Veterans’ Services officials during an Aug. 26 presentation that more volunteers are always needed. Currently, 60 veteran volunteers serve the Hospice of Dayton area. To register as a volunteer, visit: hospiceofdayton.org/volunteers/volunteer-application/
With almost 17,000 veterans in Greene County, Veterans’ Services provides assistance and resources to local veterans.
Ohio’s Hospice, a non-profit, provides end-of-life care for more than 1,800 patients daily, regardless if that person is a veteran or not. The provider also offers community grief counseling, children’s art therapy, and other therapies including occupational, music and respiratory.
Costie also said a new care facility called Pure Healthcare Center is launching on the campus of Miami Valley Hospital South. The facility will offer chronic disease management services to patients, teaching them how to manage their disease and have a better quality of life at home.
For more information, call Greene County Veterans’ Services at 937-562-6020 or Hospice of Dayton at 937-256-4490.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.