The following excerpt was written by Sergeant First Class John Gebhard regarding his experience with Heartland Hospice serving Southwest Michigan's Veteran's program. Over the past year, Sergeant Gebhard has been participating in local pinning ceremonies to give thanks to Veterans of all branches for their service. During the ceremony, a Veteran is presented with a certificate of thanks and a ceremonial pin.
"Since returning from Afghanistan in March 2013, I have had the honor and privilege of honoring those Veterans under the care of Heartland Hospice by conducting several pinning ceremonies. I cannot thank these Veterans and their families enough, who allow me this opportunity to honor their past service to this country. It means so much to me to be able to thank them not only for their service, but for paving the way for mine and future generations of servicemen and women.
It is because of their courage, patriotism and sacrifices that I am able to serve our great nation. For me, it has been such an enjoyable experience and the impact of the ceremony on these Veterans and their families is truly inspiring. They are all so thankful and appreciative that they are receiving this small token of appreciation from Heartland Hospice.
Some of the Veterans did not get the "welcome home" I received or the recognition for their service, so this last gesture we can extend to them, I can only hope, gives them a sense of satisfaction and the admiration they deserve. I have gotten the opportunity to honor these service members on a regular basis. Thank you Heartland Hospice, it means more to me than I could ever express in words."
Sergeant First Class John Gebhard
Deployed to Afghanistan June 2012 - March 2013 with the 507th Engineer Battalion