December 21, 2023
Korean War Combat Veteran AJ Parker Honored in Mount Ayr Ceremony
Pictured above: (Front row, L-R) Connie Doudy, National Guard; Alva “AJ” Parker, Army - Korean War; Jake Dailey, Navy – WWII. (Back row, L-R): CA Good, Army Reserve; Gary O’Daniels, Army – Vietnam; Dennis Abel Army – Vietnam; Galen Schwochowo, Army – Vietnam.
Korean War combat veteran Alva “AJ” Parker was honored November 20, 2023, with a “pinning” ceremony held at Clearview Home in Mount Ayr. The veteran pinning ceremony was arranged by the EveryStep Hospice team in Mount Ayr.
AJ served as an army medic during the war and saw combat duty, treating American soldiers as well as their adversaries. AJ remembers working out of old Japanese barracks, which were very cold during the winter. He says it was so cold the fuel gelled up and there wasn’t much heat.
After the war, AJ became a pilot and loved to fly the Cessna he owned, flying his family many places. On one vacation, AJ visited Africa and salvaged iron. He and his first wife, Edna, had five children. AJ later married Bianca, who lives in Mexico. He would split each year between living in Iowa and in Mexico.
The veteran pinning ceremony for AJ was especially meaningful, as EveryStep volunteer veterans who served during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and peace time were there to honor him along with friends and family.
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.
Learn About Volunteer Opportunities with EveryStep Hospice
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.