EveryStep Ceremony in Mount Ayr Honors Korean War Veteran Robert Marquart

Robert Marquart

Pictured above (L-R): EveryStep Veteran-to-Veteran volunteers Gary O’Daniels (Vietnam), Virgil Ebrecht (Desert Storm and Iraq) and Dennis Abel (Vietnam) with Robert Marquart, Korean War veteran.

The EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr honored Korean War veteran Robert Marquart with a “pinning” ceremony held January 30, 2024, at his home in Cromwell.

Robert was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He was drafted into the Army on December 1, 1952, when he was 20 years old. Stationed first at Camp Gordon (now called Fort Eisenhower) in Georgia for 13 months and then 11 months at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, he learned how to install telephone lines and later served as an instructor.

Honorably discharged from the service on December 2, 1954, Robert returned to St. Louis, where he purchased a garbage hauling company and operated it until 1973. He then purchased a similar company in Creston and operated Creston Sanitation until his retirement in 1998.

The father to four sons, Robert’s second wife died January 29, 2023, just three months short of their 50th wedding anniversary. Daughter-in-law Deb Marquart, who lives next door to Robert in Cromwell, says the pinning ceremony was a touching tribute.

“It was very emotional to watch — just to see his face. I don’t think I’ll ever see anything as special again. It meant so much to him,” says Deb. “He never had talked much about his service because he didn’t go overseas. He said those who did were the ‘real heroes.’ But in the past couple of weeks, he had been talking more about his service. He was so moved by the pinning ceremony. He said ‘I just can’t believe they did that for me. I just can’t believe it.’”

Robert received services from the EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr. “It was a blessing he was awake for the pinning ceremony,” says Deb. One of the aides told Deb that for an hour after Robert went to bed the night of the pinning ceremony, he could be heard telling his departed wife all about it. Robert died February 6, 2024.

EveryStep’s veteran pinning ceremonies provide honor, dignity and recognition to veterans at the end of their lives. Family members and friends are often on hand with EveryStep staff and volunteers during the celebratory events, which include the Pledge of Allegiance, the awarding of a veteran service flag pin, the singing of “God Bless America,” a reading of "What is a Veteran," and the presentation of a certificate of recognition. Veterans are often presented with a hand-made quilt, as was the case for Robert. His quilt was one of many donated by the quilters of Trinity Christian Church in Leon.

EveryStep is a nonprofit health care organization and a Level 4 partner in the nationally recognized We Honor Veterans initiative. Through its hospice program, EveryStep offers several specialized services for veterans. EveryStep’s Veteran-to-Veteran program is a special service pairing veterans who are volunteers with hospice patients who have served our country. A specialized Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer can provide companionship while talking, reading and sitting with patients. Veterans bring a unique skill set to help patients find peace at the end of life.

If you or someone you know needs care or support, complete the confidential "Find Care" form here. The form sends a message to EveryStep staff who then follow up with a phone call. It's a great way to start a conversation and get answers with no cost or commitment. EveryStep can connect the individual to its own programs and services that may be helpful, as well as services offered by other organizations and providers in the community.

If you are a veteran interested in volunteering your time to visit hospice patients, learn more or complete a volunteer application here.