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Honoring Veterans one last time
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By Joshua Pilkington

Hospice group takes time to help veterans feel appreciated

Honoring veterans is more than an annual endeavor at Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care.

“We take special pride in honoring them all year long, not just on Veteran’s Day,” said April Dovorany, Manager of Public Relations with Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care. “We have made it part of our plan of care to offer services honoring each and every one of our veterans.”

She added that Seasons partners with the We Honor Veterans organization “to make these ceremonies possible throughout the year.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, hospice and palliative care is a benefit that the VA offers to qualified veterans who are in the final phase of their lives. The approach helps veterans live fully until they die. The VA also works closely with community and home hospice agencies to provide care in the home.

Seeing as hospice care is something many veterans enter when they are approaching the last year or less of their lives, the opportunity to honor them solely on November 11 may not arrive. That is something Dovorany said that Seasons takes into account when honoring veterans.

“The majority of our veterans are not honored on Veterans Day,” she said. “They are honored whenever they choose. In most cases these ceremonies involve just one veteran and their loved ones or our staff if they have no one close to them.”

The ceremony consists of honoring veterans with a certificate, a pin and usually something special that is unique to each location.

“For example, our Colorado office give beautiful patriotic pillows to our vets,” Dovorany said. “In other locations we partner with volunteers to make patriotic quilts, or bears. It’s very touching.”

Seasons operates in 28 states and, according to Dovorany, the staff carries out these veteran ceremonies almost daily.

Though a daily activity, Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care has chosen this week to honor veterans through five unique “We Honor Veterans” ceremonies in their Metro Denver facilities through November 13.

“We have veteran volunteers who will be conducting the ceremony, recognizing each member by their branch of service, pinning a special pin and presenting them with a certificate of appreciation,” Dovorany said. “We’ll also have patriotic music, encouraging words from local lawmakers and our staff, and a time to reflect for our patients and their families.”

The first We Honor Veterans ceremony was yesterday at the Denver North Care Center, where veterans at the care center were honored, some for the first time.

“Some of our patients were there at Iwo Jima, others fought in Vietnam and until becoming one of our patients, they’d never been honored,” Dovorany said. “You find that each of their stories is unique and each one tugs at your heartstrings.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau nearly 400,000 veterans reside in Colorado. The majority of those veterans served in the Vietnam War or prior to it. Almost 40 percent of veterans in Colorado are over 65, meaning the need for hospice related care will continue to intensify as the state’s veteran population ages.

The We Honor Veterans ceremonies will continue throughout the week including today’s event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Autumn Heights on 3131 S. Federal Blvd., Thursday’s event at the Denver North Care Center from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on 2201 N. Downing St., Friday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Manor at Marston Lake on 4800 Old S. Wadsworth Blvd., in Littleton, and on Monday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Bethany Rehabilitation Center on 5301 W. 1st Ave in Lakewood.

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