Hospice of Redmond veterans services

- hospiceofredmond.org/1392-2

Hospice of Redmond and the Redmond Senior Center are working together to brighten at least one day each month for area veterans.

The senior center played host to the first We Honor Veterans lunch on Sept. 18. About 20 former military members got a free meal and were also able to get a meal for a “plus one.” Hospice of Redmond plans to pay for the meal the third Wednesday of each month for the next year, with the next scheduled for Oct. 16.

“We know there are a lot of veterans, especially in the aging veteran population, who may be struggling,” said Maureen Krebs, Hospice’s marketing and communications director, who also handles veterans outreach for the facility. “We want to create a place where they can sit together with their fellow veterans and break bread.”

A 10-year Marine Corp veteran, Krebs told those in attendance about how important their service was.

“My generation has been thanked a lot for our service, your generation really didn’t get thanked,” she said.

“We got spit on,” one veteran responded.

The meals are one of several veteran-related initiatives the Hospice has. In 2013, a 30-foot long, six-foot high Wall of Honor was built at the Hospice at 732 SW 23rd St., near Redmond High School. Hospice plays host to a “Taps” ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Krebs also works to connect veterans to services like the federal and state Department of Veterans Affairs offices.

Hospice is also part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans program.

“I know there is such a need in the area for support for veterans — Vietnam, Korea and World War II — as we age,” she said.

Eddie Frazier, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, enjoyed the first lunch.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s a reminder that a lot of people have served in the past to protect the country, and it gives us the opportunity to sit together and remember the good times.”

Krebs also hopes to use the lunches as a way to connect veterans with the Band of Brothers.

“It’s a place where veterans feel safe, and they can ask for help if they need help,” she told the Spokesman.

The lunch was part of an important week for the senior center. It played host to an event Sept. 20 to celebrate its 70th birthday.

“We believe in veterans,” said Ted Viramonte, the center’s interim director. “We do have a significant number of veterans that are people that we serve here, so it made a lot of sense. Additionally, it’s a way to get more people to come in and see what we’re doing here.”

Hospice is one of a number of sponsors for lunches at the senior center. Viramonte said the federal funding the center receives comes up about a dollar short each meal.

“The entree sponsorships are allowing us to bridge that gap, especially with the rising food costs we’re all experiencing,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com