Volunteers needed for Vet-to-Vet program

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Comfort Care Hospice is seeking volunteers for its Vet-to-Vet program and assisting with the national We Honor Veterans organization.

“It means a lot to be able to give back to a population that we feel has given and sacrificed so much for our liberties. Build a temple and they will come. I am hoping that as long as they know there is a ‘temple’ available to them and built for them, they will continue to come and share with one another,” Medical Social Worker Jay Beauford said.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, first developed the “We Honor Veterans” program.

The mission of We Honor Veterans is to “empower hospices and community organizations to meet the unique needs of America’s veterans and their families by offering guidance and resources focused on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment so that veterans can be guided toward a more peaceful ending.”

Comfort Care Hospice has worked with this program through its Vet-to-Vet Volunteer for the last 12 years. The Vet-to-Vet Volunteer program allows veteran patients to interact with fellow veterans. These volunteers reminisce and tell stories, educate and assist patients in receiving veteran benefits they are eligible for, and assist with pinning ceremonies during honorary occasions.

“We have been a part of We Honor Veterans since 2010. The program is meant to help guide the men and women who have seen the atrocities of war and who are facing a terminal illness to a more peaceful ending. Comfort Care is Level-5 certified, which is the highest certification that you can receive from the program. We are also considered a state mentor for other hospices interested in We Honor Veterans,” Beauford said.

A veteran’s support group is held every fourth Tuesday at the Comfort Care Hospice office from 11 a.m. until noon.

“We are looking for volunteers to join us at Comfort Care Hospice and help these veterans. You may visit our location to fill out an application and go through basic training on what is needed to help. All applicants will be subject to a background check and then take some online learning courses,” Volunteer Coordinator Judy Ramsey said.

Companion volunteers keep vigil with patients and families during their final hours. Companions offer support to caregivers and opportunities to talk, share stories, play a game, or just be near. Support volunteers assist patients by investing time into administrative operations at Comfort Care.

“Our volunteers truly bring warmth, joy, and tenderness into the daily practice of caring for our patients. They interact with our patients on a personal level and give them a sense of connection. We would not be where we are if it weren’t for these dedicated volunteers helping veterans who are on hospice,” Ramsey said.

Mary Brazzell has been a longtime volunteer with the program. “When we were young children, we helped take care of the older ladies on North Cotton Street. We all took care of each other, and this has continued in my adult life. Volunteering has played an important role in my life,” she said. “We have a lot of fun laughing and talking together,” one patient added.

Comfort Care Hospice is located at 820 South Three Notch Street, Suite C, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 334-427-4000.