Center for Hospice Care (CHC) has had a standing promise to the Michiana community for 37 years that no one eligible for hospice services will be turned away, even if they can’t pay for our services. When it comes to veterans, we honor this promise with particular care. Currently, one in four deaths in the U.S. is a veteran. And many of them aren’t honored in a way that their status deserves. The Hospice Foundation strives to support our counterpart, Center for Hospice Care, in providing not only end of life treatment for veterans, but so much more.
Here’s a recent example. WWII veteran Wilbur Lewis came to us one day in the spring of 2016 with terminal cancer, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. He was described as a vibrant, “charismatic character” by his family – a man who loved life. Making the decision to bring in Center for Hospice Care for Wilbur allowed his daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Rich, to take him into their home and gave them the mobility to ensure that his last year of life was the highest quality that it could be.
It just so happened that CHC had a goal that year of sending a veteran on an honor flight to Washington, DC. The Honor Flight Network transports American veterans there to give them an opportunity to visit the memorials that honor their service and sacrifices, and this was a program that CHC wanted to support.
When his social worker, Jamie, brought his name to our attention, we knew Wilbur was our guy. Wilbur was ready to fly, and his son-in-law, Rich Allen, went along as his companion. The flight left in the early hours of the morning from Fort Wayne and returned late that same night.
“We arrived back in Fort Wayne, late that evening, about 10 o’clock at night and there must have been… 1,000 people there to welcome us back… even our hospice workers were there to greet Wilbur back with a big sign. That was so cool, it was one of the first faces we saw as we were entering through the crowd. That really meant a lot to him, he was surprised to see that,” Rich explained.
As they were walking through the crowd, Rich remembered that Wilbur leaned over to him and said, “We celebrated overseas when the war ended, but when we came home, we came home to nothing like this, it would have been so good to have received this kind of welcoming when we came home.”
That is the feeling that Center for Hospice Care wants to pass on to every veteran under our care.
Your funds will support:
- Medical care
- Pinning ceremonies
- Arrangement of funeral services
- Activities and visits with volunteers who are also veterans
- Future honor flights
- Arrangement with the VA for assigned nursing facilities as needed
- Bearevement services specifically geared toward the needs of veterans and their families
- Veterans Memorial on our Mishawaka campus
All of these things are provided for those who served in the armed forces, regardless of their ability to pay for our services. Our staff is always shocked to hear veterans that say that these services are sometimes the first time they have ever been recognized for their military service.
Please consider supporting us as we rally together to show these veterans our gratitude during the last months and years of their lives.