Veterans helping Veterans

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

vets helping vetsDo you know who truly understands Veterans?  The answer is easy: other Veterans.  That’s why HPCCR is in the process of recruiting Veterans to help the patients under our care who could probably use their help the most — their fellow military comrades.

Watching Veterans interact is like watching a TV show in a different language; you can tell what the emotions are, but you’re not sure what they’re saying.  They have their own body language, their own speech patterns, and their own terminology.  If you’re a member of this unique society, you understand.  If you’re not, you watch with a mixture of awe and appreciation, instantly realizing that Veterans have a bond that goes much deeper than outward appearance.

That’s why this program is so valuable. The HPCCR Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Program will pair recruited Veteran volunteers with hospice patients who have served in the military. The volunteers then have the opportunity to relate and connect with these patients who share similar military backgrounds, creating a safe environment for sharing experiences. Our patients can talk to someone who truly understands their emotions; someone who’s been in their shoes and likely felt the same confusing combination of fear, frustration, pride, excitement, and elation that comes with serving in the military.

Veterans can help hospice patients in many ways — listening to their stories, helping them understand their benefits, assisting in replacing lost medals, providing transportation, and advocating for them in hospice team meetings.  More importantly, these volunteers validate the experiences of patients.  They offer much-needed recognition of a crucial time in the patient’s life.  They honor the sacrifice that these hospice patients made to protect the freedom of their country.

Veteran volunteers will be matched as closely as possible by specific branch or duty.  They will receive special training, similar to traditional organizational volunteer training, but with some extra emphasis on the needs of Veterans.  They will shadow other volunteers visiting Veteran hospice patients and will be allowed to ask questions and “debrief”.  Veteran volunteers have the unique opportunity to interact with patients who may have previously been unreachable.

If you are a Veteran who has time to help a fellow soldier, please contact Crystal England at 704.335.3578 or find out more about the program at hpccr.org.

Explore posts in the same categories: caregiving, end of life, hospice, Veterans, volunteering

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