Honoring Our Military VeteransBy Seasons | June 12, 2019
Seasons Hospice is proud to honor the military veterans in the communities we serve through ceremonies of recognition, pinnings, memorials and more. We are privileged to partner with We Honor Veterans to train our staff and volunteers on how to identify and acknowledge all veterans in our communities, regardless of whether they are on our service.
We’re proud of the ways our staff members pursue their calling as hospice professionals along with their other passions. Daughter and granddaughter to Army veterans, our Hospice Care Consultant Daphni has long had a special place in her heart for veterans. While she’s worked in several different healthcare capacities during her career, Daphni has always found a way to be involved with veterans.
Living and working in Pinellas County, Florida has given Daphni many opportunities to pursue her passion, since the county is home to many retirees and veterans. She’s long been an advocate for end-of-life care for the veteran community in Pinellas, and for nine years Daphni has been serving the veterans in her community through her work with Honor Flight of West Central Florida (HFWCF). She has served on the board of HFWCF and has gone as a “guardian” (or companion to a veteran) on multiple flights to D.C.
During her time volunteering for HFWCF, Daphni formed a relationship with another volunteer, Dick, who served in the Vietnam War in the Air Force. The two served as bus captains on the trips to D.C., and connected over their desire to honor veterans. Dick shared with Daphni early on that he hoped to one day be able to go on an honor flight himself, but he wasn’t sure it was going to be able to happen. HFWCF made the commitment to take all interested local WWII veterans on honor flights before they began flights for those who served in Vietnam, but because of the large veteran population in Pinellas, it looked like it was going to be quite some time before the organization was ready to start Vietnam flights. Daphni made a promise to Dick that if his time came, she would accompany him on the flight as his guardian.
In 2018, Dick was diagnosed with lymphoma. While HFWCF always ensured that patients with serious medical issues had first pick for the honor flights, Dick was still determined that he would not go on the flight until it was open to Vietnam veterans. Thankfully, a few months later the flights were officially open for Vietnam vets, and it was time for Dick to sign up!
On May 7th, it was off to D.C. with flight full of Vietnam veterans and their guardians. While in D.C., the veterans were able to tour the war memorials and find the names of their fellow soldiers who didn’t make it home, or who had since passed. It was an emotional and healing time for these veterans, and Daphni was so honored to be there to support her good friend Dick, and perform a ceremonially pinning, now that it was his time to be honored.
Daphni works closely with our staff at our Pinellas office to share her knowledge about the ways to appropriately honor veterans. She conducts trainings and pilots the local We Honor Veterans program. When it comes to the care that we provide to our patients, knowing that they have military experience and/or exposure to warfare agents can help us understand their needs. “Military experience can really change what our plan of care looks like,” says Daphni.
Not only does our knowledge about military history affect how we strive to support our patients emotionally at end of life, but it can also inform our understanding of their physical symptoms such as restlessness and agitation.
We’re grateful to have team members like Daphni who serve the community every day, not only through her advocacy for end-of-life care, but also through her passion to ensure every local veteran gets the chance to find closure and receive the honor they so truly deserve.