The following blog was submitted by Patty Delauder from Mountain Hospice, WV. Mountain Hospice recently achieved Level Five status.
Mountain Hospice Veteran Volunteers have worked very hard in the past year, offering support to the veteran patients receiving care from Mountain Hospice. Gerald Poling, a Vietnam Veteran, and his friend Ed Corey both served in the United States Army. Both men joined Mountain Hospice to provide volunteer support through the “We Honor Veterans Program,” serving as Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteers. Mountain Hospice currently is recognized as a Level 5 of the “We Honor Veterans,” a program that is a part of the National Hospice Palliative Care Organization. Mountain Hospice has been working hard to reach their goal of a Level 5 status and are doing so with veteran volunteers’ support. The men have dedicated themselves to serving as volunteers to both Mountain Hospice and their community. These volunteers have worked on special projects affiliated with the We Honor Veterans Program and have helped establish and maintain the requirements of the Level 4 and 5 requirements. Gerald and Ed have worked hard every month during the COVID Pandemic volunteering.
A few of their projects included participating in Veteran Café’s and holding a few Special Café’s, providing support and education about the “We Honor Veterans” program at Veteran Café’s, local Veteran affiliated organizations, and VA Hospitals. Gerald and Ed have found creative ways to help veterans and their families in their community by preparing nearly 300 meals that took an entire day to prepare, serve, and then deliver meals to over 30 veterans and other hungry people. They began doing this at their local church and have continued this mission every 3rd Saturday of each month. They also continued doing this on special holidays like Thanksgiving, and Christmas providing meals and gifts to those families in need.
The volunteers have since volunteered to build by hand their very own hands flagpoles that Veterans can view from their living room. Ed, our Veteran Volunteer, reported that each flagpole had to be cut from metal, sanded down, painted, added hardware, digging holes, setting concrete, and then standing the pole up proudly to be displayed for a veteran to enjoy. It took 2 to 3 days for each flagpole to be completed and at least 8 hours a day of volunteer work. He also reports that during the COVID Pandemic, they have set at least six different flag poles for community veterans and will continue to do so as the flags are requested. The Volunteers spent over 100 hours and 12 days making the six poles they had made for the veterans.
Other efforts that the Veteran-to Veteran Volunteers have done are making phone calls, visiting hospice veterans, and participating in Veteran Pinning’s, including welcome Home Vietnam Veterans recognition, Veterans Day Events, and ceremonies. Represented the We Honor Veterans Program in a local Veterans Day Parade in their hometown, participated in panel discussions, held Special Cafés, visited veterans at the local VA Facility. Participated in Last Rights Ceremonies as Honor Guards, participated in required “We Honor Veterans Trainings.”
These two men have shown Mountain Hospice what hard work and effort goes into being a dedicated Veteran- to Veteran Volunteer for our organization. We at Mountain Hospice are genuinely proud to have these Veterans on our team. These veteran volunteers deserve to be recognized in so many ways, especially Mr. Gerald Poling, a United States Army Vietnam Veteran himself who wants to help support the other Vietnam Veterans in the end-of-life days.