Kevin Cross, bereavement coordinator at ProMedica Hospice serving South Central Pennsylvania, along with Doug Etter, chief communication officer with Lebanon VA Medical Center, came together to become co-chairs of the Lebanon, PA Veterans Community Partnership (VCP). VCP primarily focuses on hospice and palliative care and making veteran patients comfortable during their end of life.
Kevin shared, “As part of the We Honor Veterans initiative, it has been my privilege to participate in the Veteran Community Partnership (VCP) for our community since 2017. Through VCP, over twenty-five organizations have been meeting with the mission of ‘working together on behalf of veterans to provide access to care and support services of the Veterans Administration and in the community.’
Each month we meet to talk about topics of concern related to veterans and their families and to ensure we understand the current needs of veterans. Educational presentations encourage us to have deeper insights into veterans so that we can share veteran concerns with our own team.
The We Honor Veterans initiative has been such a powerful tool in helping veterans recognize that their sacrifice and service to our country still matter. As part of our ProMedica veteran’s outreach, I was privileged to meet with a group of veterans a few years ago. They were lamenting that, at times, they felt their service had been in vain. As we continued the conversation, it was noted that even in our changing society, people have unprecedented freedoms in the United States because of their military service.
At one Veteran pinning event where we welcome home and honor veterans for their service, an employee of the facility was in the back of the community room listening. A co-worker approached him and ask if he had served. He was reluctant to speak but did share about his tour in Vietnam. He said that he never received a ‘Welcome Home’ when he returned because of the clamor surrounding the war in Vietnam. He had hidden his service because of the ridicule and violence he endured whenever people found out he served in Vietnam. We honored him that night and gave him a proper and fitting ‘Welcome Home’.
This is why I find such joy and fulfillment in working with veterans. They have real and very deep needs. Our efforts to touch their lives help them to find peace, and rest, as the bugle call ‘Taps’ communicates, ‘All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.’”
To learn more about the Lebanon Veteran Community Partnership, click here.