​Veteran Working with Other Veterans


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Jerry Stewart comes from a military family. His father was in the military, and so was his before him. When it came time for Stewart to decide what he wanted to do, the path seemed clear—so he decided to join the Air Force. The service is where he met his wife, Jackie, who served in the Navy.
For Stewart, those who serve have always been close to his heart. After years of service, he decided on a new path of service—now, Stewart works with Avalon Hospice and uses his experience in the Air Force to guide his work with the veterans in hospice.
The Hospice for Heroes program was developed specifically to address the unique needs of veterans and works to care for some of the nation’s 21 million veterans.
This year, the team at Avalon Hospice will branch out to host a Veterans Day event as another way to care for and honor their patients. The event will include patriotic readings done by local students and a colors ceremony by a local scout troop.
Stewart said the aim of the event is to honor local veterans and to educate about the veteran experience.
“Some of the hospice offices around will do coffee and donuts —we wanted to take it a step further. I’m one of those who believes that we should be taking care of our vets from the moment they sign and the moment they pass on,” he said. “This is one way we’re able to do it. It’s a thank you and a moment to remember those who have passed.”
The majority of the nation’s veterans served in the Vietnam War, and Stewart said his hope for the Veterans Day event is to bring the community together to thank those who served.
“It gives us as a community an opportunity to give them that thank you, and from me personally being from a military family, it’s essentially just taking care of my own,” Stewart said. “These are the people that I work with and counsel every day. We don’t know that there will be another Veterans’ Day for a lot of our patients, and we just want to take this opportunity to thank them.”
The event is open to the public and will be at 11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 12, at Winchester First Baptist Church.