The Connecticut Hospice, established in 1974 as the first Hospice in America, has always been dedicated to honoring all patients and families affected by life-limiting illnesses with integrity, support, and compassion. This dedication includes an increased commitment to the special needs of veteran patients and is supported by a new partnership with the We Honor Veterans program.
We Honor Veterans is a collaborative effort by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which invites hospices and VA facilities to join a program focused on serving the unique needs of America’s Veterans and their families. Participating organizations bolster their service to Veterans by moving through five levels of partnership.
At Connecticut Hospice, the We Honor Veterans program is viewed as a great opportunity to formalize and advance the organization’s commitment to veteran patients. As We Honor Veterans has become more integrated into the organization’s services offered, the positive impact on veteran patients and their families has become evident from the smiles on the patients’ faces.
The most recent veteran-focused event was held this past Memorial Day, May 30, 2022, when Connecticut Hospice welcomed Branford, Connecticut’s Scouting Troop # 688, representing the Boy Scouts of America, to present the colors at a special honor guard ceremony.
Some Connecticut Hospice patients, families, and staff assembled on the waterfront side of the campus to partake in the event, while others watched from their room windows. The scouts, ranging in age and rank, were accompanied by troop leaders, Michael Loffredo, Brian Appleby, Deidre Salemme, and Crystal Bailey-Loffredo.
The Memorial Day program opened with a prayer and a brief history of Memorial Day. Scout Master Loffredo then read the legendary Gettysburg Address, which President Lincoln delivered on November 19, 1863. Scout Master Loffredo also gave a detailed account of wars with American involvement, including years fought and the number of United States servicemen and women who have lost their lives – currently this is quoted at over 1 million. The afternoon concluded with the playing of Taps by a member of the troop, a recitation of the call’s lyrics, and finally with the retiring of the colors.
Both the scouts and troop leaders took the opportunity to interact with several of Connecticut Hospice veteran patients, who proudly attended the special Memorial Day presentation, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing his military stories to an eager audience.
Prior to the day’s events, our Veteran Volunteer, Joe Marino, who served in the army as a dentist in both Desert Storm and Gulf War, presented personalized recognition certificates to all Veterans currently receiving care in our inpatient hospice unit.
Connecticut Hospice has also implemented a process of placing a small flag on the bottom of a veteran patient’s bed upon passing. It is just another way to pay respect to veterans for their service.