Volunteers at the Cheyenne, Wy., VA Medical Center run a program for terminal veterans that assures they aren’t alone in their final days.
In the “No Veteran Dies Alone” program volunteers get to know the veteran.
“Sometimes holding their hands if they want you to hold their hands, sometimes just listening to them talk. Sometimes just listened to them talk. Sometimes just saying nothing and being there,” volunteer Dr. Tom Cassidy told KHON-TV.
“My dad was in World War II,” said volunteer Kim Fisher, “it’s kind of a payback, and you really do get a lot more back from them than you ever would give them.”
Chaplain Carol Carr started the program three years ago and has been training volunteers in end-of-life care.
“They’re just all gifted, gifted people from all walks of life just wanting to give back to the veterans who have served us,” Carr said.
Veteran Lyle Tayson said he appreciates “the company.”
“I like to talk, I like to talk about myself, who doesn’t?” Tayson said.
Mentors in the program also provide support for volunteers.
"Dealing with people who are dying can bring up emotions and can put somebody in a place where they need to possibly talk about what their experience was," said mentor David McElwain.
Image credit: United States of America MC2 Tiarra Fulgham/U.S. Navy