There was a salute, a pause, a moment in time no one in the room would forget as Corporal Michael Kloian did his best to salute back to Angela Hospice volunteer Margot Parr, a fellow veteran.
Tucked away in a quiet room at Fox Hills Senior Living, Michael’s family came together to watch as Michael was honored for his time in the Air Force, a fitting tribute to a man who had spent so much time as a veteran.
“For me, just having him honored in a different way, as a veteran, by a veteran was special… I think he enjoyed that too,” said Terri Koller, one of his nieces who attended the We Honor Veterans ceremony.
Michael was someone who was proud to have served, and happily shared his knowledge to Terri and her sisters, giving them an education that couldn’t simply be taught in the classroom.
He was not only an Air Force veteran but a World War II veteran as well, having survived the crash of a B-29 Bomber plane during a test pilot landing, leaving over 60 percent of his body burned as he tried to save his comrades and escape. He was one of only four survivors, something that weighed heavily on him, knowing he hadn’t been able to save every one of his Air Force brothers that day.
Because of this weight, Teri Schmitchen, Angela Hospice Director of Integrative Therapies & Volunteer Services, also performed a Fallen Comrade ceremony for Michael’s fallen comrades, something that meant the world to him and his family, relieving him of a burden Michael had been carrying around for decades.
“It was very powerful,” his niece said.
The We Honor Veterans program provides such a significant benefit to veterans at the end-of-life. Nearly one in four hospice patients is a veteran, and many have never been thanked for their service. We Honor Veterans at Angela Hospice honors their service, providing a formal recognition for each veteran, as well as addressing any emotional or spiritual needs that may be related to their time in the military. The program also connects veterans with volunteers, such as Margot, who served as well, providing a deeper understanding few others can grasp.
“As a veteran myself, I’m so grateful to be able to recognize veterans for their commitment and service to our country in this way, especially during their final journey,” Margot said. “Being able to salute my fellow veterans, as both a sign of respect and honor, is quite meaningful and powerful, a moment that I’m honored to take part in.”
Since its inception almost a decade ago, the Angela Hospice We Honor Veterans program has served thousands of veterans from all branches, and is currently at Level 4 status as defined by its founders, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veteran Affairs. A team of Angela Hospice volunteers and staff are currently working toward Level 5, the top tier for the program.
TO SUPPORT VETERANS IN ANGELA HOSPICE CARE AND SAY “THANK YOU” FOR ALL THEY’VE SACRIFICED FOR US ALL, VISIT HERE TO GIVE TODAY.