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White Plains, NY – (November 16, 2012) –There are more than 900,000 veterans living in New York State. According to the Westchester County Veterans Service Agency, more than 100,000 veterans of all wars, including the current Middle East conflict, live in Westchester County, representing the fifth largest veteran population in the state.
The third annual inter-hospice countywide breakfast, For Those Who Have Served, recently commemorated Veterans Recognition Month and honored Westchester County residents who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The attendees included a record number of female veterans; and military family veterans that included a married couple and several fathers and sons who’d both served.
Over 220 people attended the breakfast, which was co-sponsored by Westchester County’s hospice organizations: Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester (HPCW); Hospice Care in Westchester and Putnam; Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care; and Phelps Hospice.
After William Dawe, Hospice Community Representative and Community Relations/Professional Liaison, HPCW, welcomed the guests, an invocation by Rev. Rabbi Jo Hirschmann. BCC Hospice Chaplain and a greeting from Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino followed. Presenters included Vito Pinto, Director, Westchester County Office of Veteran’s Affairs; Patricia A. Burke, RN, MSN and Associate Director of Patient Services VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System; Specialist Michael Moran, US Army who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom; and Susan Hoffner, LCSW Hospice Community Representative. Hospice Staff Anne Testa & Tom Gorman’s special presentation of ‘Letters of Love’, a selection of wartime letters sent between service members and their families, evoked emotional responses and teary eyes from many of the veterans in attendance.
Concluding the event was a remembrance by Donald Singer Sr., Esq. Brigadier General, US Army, (Ret.), Lieut. Colonel NYS National Guard (Ret.); Staff Sgt. Kenneth Barnes’ moving trumpet performance of Taps; and a benediction provided by Rev. Ervin R. Graves, Hospice Chaplain.
In addition to the presentations that provided information on veteran’s benefits, vocalist Rick Hess provided lighter moments with musical interludes that included a medley of patriotic tunes such as Yankee Doodle Dandy and renditions of the service hymns and fight songs for each military branch.
“Each year the attendance for this breakfast grows and we are honored to participate with the other area hospice organizations to recognize these courageous men and women for their honorable service and commitment to their country,” said Mr. Dawe.
“The breakfast also provides us with an opportunity to inform them of the important healthcare and benefits to which they are entitled and provide them with tools that will help them plan for their futures accordingly,” Dawe added.
Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester is located at 311 North Street, Suite 204, White Plains, NY. For additional information, visit www.hospiceofwestchester.com or call 914-682-1484.
About Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester: Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester, which is celebrating its 20th year, is a private, not-for-profit healthcare agency that provides skilled, compassionate and comprehensive end-of-life care to patients with any diagnosis and gives support to their families and loved ones.