By: Jarret Romanello, email@example.com
Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham
(PORT ST. LUCIE) Veterans filled Mission BBQ’S private dining room on Wednesday for Treasure Coast Hospice’s first Community Veteran Cafe. The lunchtime event started just before the restaurant’s daily tradition of pausing for the national anthem at noon.
Serving the community for 40 years in Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties, Treasure Coast Hospice strives to be the leader in caring for and honoring Veterans and their families. The purpose of the Veteran Café is to connect Veterans and share information on the special programs and services for Veterans available through the organization. Topics included Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer opportunities, advanced care planning, and the Veteran Care Fund.
Agnes Palmer, Treasure Coast Hospice’s Manager of Philanthropic Partnerships, wants to dispel the myth that hospice only provides care to someone who has a few days left of life. The organization cares for an average of 430 patients daily, providing comfort care, grief support, music & massage therapy, and peer-to-peer programs. “The earlier we begin serving you, the more we can do for you and your family,” Palmer said.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs recently recognized Treasure Coast Hospice for its commitment to improving veterans’ care. Treasure Coast Hospice earned a level 5 certification from the VA’s We Honor Veterans Program – the highest possible rating level available. The distinction places Treasure Coast Hospice in the top 5% of all VA We Honor Veterans partners nationwide.
The Veteran-to-Veteran Patient Visiting Program pairs patients with veteran volunteers to provide respite for the patient’s caretakers or family members, allowing patients to connect with a like-minded companion who shares similar military experiences. Vietnam Army veteran Dennis Diamond has volunteered with Treasure Coast Hospice for nine years and looks forward to his visits with his dear friends. Sometimes the veteran companion is the first person a hospice patient talks to about their war experiences. “It’s a special privilege and honor to be around these heroes,” Diamond said.
To honor service members, Treasure Coast Hospice offers pinning ceremonies to acknowledge the sacrifice made by the veterans. The ceremony performed by a veteran volunteer often brings closure and peace for veterans and their families at the end of life. The veteran receives a personalized certificate of appreciation, a proclamation, an American flag pin, and a hand-made red, white, and blue blanket. They also provide a resource information packet for the surviving spouse or family member.
Treasure Coast Hospice offers advanced care planning through Five Wishes®️ – an easy-to-use legal document written in simple language to assist people with advance directives. Community Outreach Representative Craig Perry has talked to thousands of local residents and helped them prepare the document. Perry would rather see loved ones enjoy the final days of a person’s life rather than arguing over their wishes.
When a veteran passes, Treasure Coast Hospice is there to help the family receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate. The program initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 provides surviving family members an engraved paper certificate signed by the President of the United States to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans.
On Saturday, January 29, Treasure Coast Hospice is hosting a Lakeside Stroll in Tradition. The Walk for Hope and Healing benefits the organization’s free community bereavement and grief support program. Registration begins at 8:00 am.
This year, Treasure Coast Hospice will hold a Community Veteran Café at Mission BBQ on April 13, July 20, and October 20. You can register to attend by calling (772) 403-4510. Seating is very limited.
Treasure Coast Hospice relies on community participation and support to help them, help veterans. “We cannot do what we do without the support of the community,” Agnes Palmer says.
You can learn more about Treasure Coast Hospice at Treasure Coast Hospice, FL | Official Website (treasurehealth.org).