This Memorial Day, we want to highlight one of our volunteers, Dale, who volunteers in veterans’ outreaches through his city. Dale also volunteers in 6 nursing homes. Dale says, “People can feel worthless because they find themselves in a nursing home. But I tell them “As long as you’re alive and breathing, God still has a purpose for you. You can tell your neighbors about Jesus, and you can invite them to a service here.”
In three of Dale’s homes, the activity director gathers veterans together, and volunteers come in and lead sing-alongs. They sing patriotic songs from each branch of the military, which Dale says the residents love. The volunteers also hold service-related activities such as pinning ceremonies. There are still a few vets from WWII in nursing homes, and vets who served in the later wars in Korea and Vietnam. Some vets say that they feel they don’t belong because they didn’t serve during wartime and never saw combat, but Dale says that every vet is welcome to join in any or all activities.
Being a vet himself gives him a connection because of the common experiences and code of honor they share. Volunteers sometimes find that the vets really need to talk and Dale says, “We just want to hear them out. We remind ourselves of the verse, ”Be slow to speak; quick to listen.” (James 1:19)
He is also involved in end-of-life care as a hospice volunteer. He visits people at the hospital, in nursing homes, or in their own homes.
May God bless our veterans with peace and joy and friendship throughout their time in nursing homes. If you have friends who are veterans, be sure to spend time with them, thank them for their service and tell them how grateful you are for them!