By: MaryAnn Ketcham
Spirits soared high above the clouds for two Veterans under the care of Treasure Coast Hospice as they, and their family members, experienced the wonder of a special “Meet and Greet” at the practice event for the Stuart Air Show at Witham Field.
Joined by Treasure Coast Hospice staff members and Veteran volunteers, Air Force Veteran Ronald Baxter and Navy Veteran Halbert Giese enjoyed a unique opportunity to view aircraft, speak with pilots and enjoy prime seating to one of the hottest shows in town.
Baxter served for more than twenty years, beginning in 1960, first training pilots and then training forces in Electronic Countermeasures (ECM).
“It’s enjoyable for him to be around the planes again,” said Baxter’s wife of sixty years, Martha. “While Ron never served overseas, he did transfer about every two years, and it was always a great adventure! Being here reminds us of living on the base.”
Giese served aboard the USS Pittsburgh with the Foreign Sea Service in the Mediterranean during the early 1950s.
“It’s a special honor to be here today,” said Giese’s daughter, Elizabeth Peele.
Chauffeured in a tram, the Veterans and their families viewed the line of planes situated along the runway viewing area. Stopping at the A-10 Warthog, they met Team Chief Brian Pontes, who graciously answered questions and gave a brief description of the aircraft. The families also engaged with pilots for the USAF C-130 Hurricane Hunter. They learned about the plane, its mission, and the dangers involved in flying into the eye of a storm.
Later, while enjoying lunch, the Veterans and the Treasure Coast Hospice team looked to the sky to watch military planes engage in a host of spectacular aerobatic feats of speed, might, and control.
Treasure Coast Hospice Care Coordinator and Air Force Veteran Darlene Webb expressed a renewed sense of pride in her service, a feeling undeniably shared by Baxter and Giese as they looked to the sky!
“We are grateful to Mike Anthony and the Stuart Air Show for partnering with us to bring this amazing experience to our Veteran patients and their families and our Veteran volunteers and staff members,” said CEO Jackie Kendrick, CHPCA. “As a Level 5 We Honor Veterans Partner, it’s truly an honor to be able to create these special moments for those who have served our nation.”
For more information about Treasure Coast Hospice and its Veterans Program, please visit TreasureHealth.org.