“We Honor Veterans” is a program designed to thank veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service to our country. Gilchrist and other hospices throughout the country collaborate with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and local VA offices. As a result, hospice providers are better equipped to understand the complex end-of-life care needs of veterans.
Through important discussions, life review and special salute to service ceremonies, Gilchrist ensures that this special group is recognized and respected.
Since July 2012, Gilchrist has completed all four levels of the We Honor Veterans partnership program. As a result, we have made great strides in our ability to better serve veterans and their families. Also, by earning the highest program rating—four stars—we show our commitment to providing the finest in end-of-life care for veterans.
Salute to Service Ceremonies
A touching part of the program is the salute to service ceremony. It allows us to say “thank you” to veterans for their service to our nation. And it shows that we recognize the hardships that all veterans have endured as a result of their willingness to risk their lives to maintain our freedom.
In coordination with the veteran’s family, the Gilchrist staff and volunteers come together to present the veteran with a special pin as a token of our thanks and gratitude. Therefore, we hope that every time a veteran sees their pin, they know their military service is deeply appreciated.
While Gilchrist has performed hundreds of special, and even large-scale, salute to service ceremonies for veterans over the years, please take a moment to view some of their stories.
Vet to Vet Task Force
Recently, Gilchrist initiated a new component of our We Honor Veterans program, called the Vet to Vet Task Force. It is a volunteer-based service that provides active duty or veteran outreach to our veteran hospice population. When it comes to reviewing one’s military experience at the end of life, nothing can compare to the intrinsic bond, trust and camaraderie of someone who understands the military experience.
Gilchrist’s Welcome Home celebration honors the veterans in our care as well as all of the veterans in our community, and coincides with Maryland’s Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan in 2015. This celebration is one of the many ways Gilchrist recognizes the unique needs of veterans and thanks them for their sacrifice and service to our country. Learn more about the event.
Veteran volunteers accompany students to interview our veteran patients about their military service and submit the written or recorded work to the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, so that future generations may better understand the realities of war. The submission is also given as a gift to the veteran and their family. Whenever possible the interviews will be conducted by students from the local high schools that we partner with.
Veteran volunteers visit local elementary, middle and high school students to read to them and share their stories about service to our country. In return, the children make cards of gratitude that we give to veterans during our tributes and at our events on Veterans Day and Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. Operation Gratitude is our way of engaging younger generations to honor and pay tribute to our veterans.