Veteran’s Day is supposed to be all about honoring those who served in the armed forces, but you could say Good Shepherd Nursing Home of Wheeling, West Virginia goes above and beyond.
The nursing home held a ceremony and dinner Nov. 10 to celebrate the lives and dedicated service of its veteran residents — 19 of whom attended the event.
Many of the veterans wore hats or other regalia reflecting their service branch. Those present had served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cuban missile crisis.
“These gentlemen did so much for this country and so much for each one of us as individual citizens of the United States,” said Donald Kirsch, CEO of Welty Cooperation, which owns the 192-bed facility, who delivered remarks at the event. “It’s just a very emotional evening. Not only for me, but all of our staff.”
The ceremony took place in Good Shepherd’s chapel, where residents and their families were welcomed by an honor guard of nearby Moundsville residents and veterans. The honor guard raised the US flag and showed residents and their families how to properly fold the flag and the significance of that process. They also played “Taps” to close the ceremony.
“There was not a dry eye in our chapel,” Kirsch told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
Local musicians also took part, playing patriotic songs such as “God Bless America,” “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Veteran residents and their families were treated to a dinner after the ceremony, with food provided by Good Shepherd’s staff chefs.
Good Shepherd also made sure that the veterans and their families had some mementos to remember the occasion.
“We had a professional photographer there to take a picture of each veteran with their family,” Kirsch explained. “We do that without cost and we provide each veteran and each family member of each veteran with a photograph.”
Good Shepherd has been holding this event for the past 12 years — though the COVID-19 pandemic forced leaders to put the tradition on hold for two of those years.
“We realized that we had several veterans in our facility and we thought that it would be a perfect idea to recognize and honor them for their service to our country,” Kirsch told McKnight’s.
“It means quite a bit,” Army veteran Jack Blazier told local news at the event. “I didn’t do that much in the service. I appreciate them. Y’know, I’m just an average guy, I thought.”