The Park Rapids chapter of Disabled American Veterans gave $1,500 to CHI St. Joseph's Health Hospice Care on Friday, in support of a program honoring veterans at the end of life.

“Everything we do is to improve the quality of life of disabled veterans and their family members,” said Greg Remus with the DAV, acknowledging that the Hospice Care’s veteran recognition program does this at the end of a veteran’s life.

Hospice personnel present veterans in their care with a blanket, a pin and a certificate thanking them for their service.

“We have a volunteer who was in the Marines, and he’s able to do a final salute,” added Kasye Sherva with Hospice Care. “It’s really special.”

Sherva noted that hospice facilities also invite the veteran’s family to participate and provide refreshments.

“It’s really important,” said Aaron Majors, a social worker with Hospice Care. “The family gets to learn a little about what the veteran did in the military, and the veteran is so proud of his or her service. It’s gut-wrenching, sometimes.”

“It is, and beautiful,” agreed Sherva. “When they salute each other, it’s such an amazing thing to witness. It’s such a privilege to be a part of that.”

DAV member Joe Markell said the organization has been giving money in support of the veterans’ honors for the past four or five years.

Sherva recalled that honoring veterans was a passion for longtime hospice social worker Lucinda Peterson. “She had such a heart for veterans,” said Sherva. “It was really her passion, so that we’re able to continue.”