July 7, 2020
EveryStep Veteran Pinning: Robert Vance
It wasn't all about the ice cream, but the ice cream was a big part of the Veteran Pinning Ceremony for Robert Vance.
The Korean War veteran and EveryStep Hospice patient was honored in February as he was surrounded by friends, family, volunteers and his EveryStep caregivers.
Vance, who was stationed in Japan as a medic during the war, recalls working in the dispensary and giving shots to his fellow soldiers.
In late February, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vance was living at the Mississippi Valley Health and Rehab facility in Keokuk where he was celebrated during a Veteran Pinning Ceremony.
EveryStep Hospice regularly hosts Veteran pinning ceremonies, providing 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.
The ceremonies include the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer of thanks, 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.
The special event served as a time of remembrance and bonding for the Vance family.
Robert's granddaughter recalls that her youngest son, who is named after his great-grandfather, was excited when Vance received a special quilt.
"He said 'blankie?!' when the quilt was given to his great-grandfather," she says. "He had his blankie with him and now they both have blankies."
Robert's son also recalls that ice cream brought the group together. Toward the end of the celebration, Robert asked when the ice cream would be served.
EveryStep social worker Katie Smith offered to get ice cream from the nursing facility kitchen.
Robert and three of his young great-grandchildren enjoyed their sweet treats together.
EveryStep volunteer coordinator Machelle Lowe notes that the ceremony was one of the last conducted before the pandemic changed visitor policies at nursing facilities and affected EveryStep's volunteer services.
In fact, after the pandemic began, EveryStep helped Robert's family to move him home, where he can see his family and continue to receive care from his hospice team.