Hospice Team in Mount Ayr Honors WWII-Era Veteran William Jay

William Jay

Pictured above (L-R): EveryStep Veteran-to-Veteran volunteers Dennis Abel (Army, Vietnam) and Gary O’Daniels (Army Vietnam) with Bill Jay (Army, WWII-era).

The EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr honored Army veteran William Jay with a “pinning” ceremony held March 22, 2024, at Homestead Assisted Living in Creston.

Bill was stationed in Germany after WWII as part of a 10-year Allied occupation of the country. “Dad has always been very kind, very hardworking and loves to keep things neat and tidy, and in order,” says his daughter Barb Ide of Afton. “He loves his family, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Iowa Hawkeyes, and used to enjoy woodworking, gardening and golf.”

Receiving care from the EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr, Barb says her father, who is nearly 90, has poor hearing. “Because of his hearing, visiting with him is a challenge; but by the grace of God, he could hear what everybody was saying during the pinning. It was just so nice. He talked about his service and how he got shot at one day during his service, and it was just so neat to hear him talk about that.”

EveryStep Veteran-to-Veteran program volunteers typically attend EveryStep’s pinning ceremonies. Barb says the camaraderie between her dad and EveryStep Hospice veteran volunteers Dennis Abel and Gary O’Daniels, both Vietnam veterans, was special. Bill also received a quilt made by Mary Boswell, Debbie Young and Barb Ford, part of the Trinity Church quilting group that routinely donates quilts for the pinning ceremonies arranged by the EveryStep Hospice pinning ceremonies by the Mount Ayr team. “That beautiful quilt!” says Barb.

Barb says the care her father receives from the EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr has been wonderful. “They’ve just been so good. I’m so, so happy with them — they just have a way with him. He likes things to be done in a certain way and they just know what to say and how to care for him.”

The continuity of staff is one thing Barb appreciates about the EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr. “Dad loves his bath aide Bailey (Niedermann). It’s always the same person giving him his bath, so it helps with his anxiety.” EveryStep Hospice nurse for the Mount Ayr team Kerri Howard also receives praise from Barb. “She’s so awesome. She comes in to visit with him and then calls me to let me know how he’s doing. She’s just so kind and caring and I just couldn’t be happier.” Barb’s mother, who has dementia, is also receiving care from the EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr.

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.

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.

To learn about volunteering opportunities across the 44 counties and many communities served by EveryStep Hospice, please click here. 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 wonderful 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 on our website.