My Daddy fought in the Vietnam War. He was so proud of his service, even though it left him with demons and ailments to battle for the rest of his life. His Purple Heart and Bronze Star were framed and hung proudly in our home and were on display next to his urn after his death.
As a veteran, he had access to medical care at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. He spent a lot of time there, especially in the last six months of his life and he even drew his last breath there. The CCU and Heroes’ Haven staff were so kind to him and us in those final days. Perhaps most touching of all was the Hero Walk after he died. All of the staff stopped what they were doing to line the hallways and pay their respects as the nurses wheeled Daddy’s flag-draped bed downstairs. It was a beautiful reminder that his service to his country was not forgotten and his status as a veteran was important to them.
We were one of the lucky families – our house is about 10 miles from a VA center. Many vets and their families aren’t so lucky and have to travel hours sometimes for access to VA care. When a loved one is in the hospital, the last thing you want to think about is shelling out money for a place to stay so you can be by their bedside. That’s where the Fisher House Foundation comes in. Similar to the Ronald McDonald House, the Fisher House offers vets’ families a place to stay near VA medical centers, completely free of charge. Additionally, the Fisher House operates the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs – using donated frequent flyer miles and hotel points to allow family members to stay near their injured vets while they’re hospitalized. The foundation also manages a scholarship program for the children and spouses of fallen and disabled veterans.
So many of the men we saw hospitalized at the VA were all alone. If you know a vet, give him/her a call today. Don’t know a vet? Check out ways to volunteer at the closest VA.
tl;dr Sry so serious. Hug a Vet today.