We Honor Vets: Showing appreciation to a pharmacist’s mate

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Dec. 7, 2011 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, propelling the United States to enter World War II. On this auspicious anniversary, a number of airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base joined with veterans who volunteer at TMC Hospice to honor the service of James R. Wilson.

Wilson served in the U.S. Navy from 1940-46 as a pharmacist’s mate on the battleship U.S.S. Tennessee.

Wilson delighted the members of the 355th Fighter Wing, explaining how battleships were named after states, cruisers after cities and aircraft carriers after people.

In appreciation of his service, the airmen presented Wilson with a flag and a plaque that reads: “We pay special tribute to you for your military service to America and for advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all.”

TMC Hospice provides care for more than 225 U.S. veterans each year, and the need is only growing. The average age is 61 of the country’s more than 22.6 million veterans, more than half of whom served during wartime. Some 54,000 veterans are dying each month. The need for compassionate, evidenced-based end-of-life care will only grow for this population.

This need is why TMC Hospice joined with national partners We Honor Veterans and the Hospice Veterans Partnership to better care for, reach out and honor veterans needing end-of-life care.

Hospice care needs to address veterans’ unique medical challenges that come with histories of wounds, frostbite and cold injuries, nuclear and chemical weapon exposure, mental health and substance abuse, and more.

These men and women are our warriors, trained by the military in a culture of stoicism. As a group, they under-report symptoms. They have trust issues. They have an inability to stop ‘fighting’ and allow a natural relationship with death.

In addition to easing veterans’ physical journey, this is last opportunity to ensure veterans know their service was not in vain, and that they are appreciated.

TMC Hospice is proud to have recently reached Level 2 with the We Honor Veterans program. The aim is to achieve Level 4 within the next two years.

Part of this effort means that TMC Hospice is working with different veteran organizations to make sure veterans know that they have a hospice benefit, and that, in fact, a majority of hospice care is provided by community-based facilities and not necessarily by the VA medical system.

Veterans and families sacrificed to serve our country. It is TMC Hospice’s great honor to serve our veterans in their time of need.

Learn more about We Honor Veterans at www.wehonorveterans.org. For more information on TMC Hospice or becoming a Veteran to Veteran volunteer, please call TMC Hospice, (520) 324-2438.

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