Local veterans program offers fulfilling opportunity

At the end of life, both patients and families often need something more than medical care. They need compassion, comfort, or even conversation and listening. One group of people that needs something special are our veterans. To meet this need and honor our heroes, Cross Timbers Hospice performs the We Honor Veterans Program with the help of retired Army personnel Sydney Clinton Holt and Janet Banks. 

Cross Timbers Hospice has been a part of the We Honor Veterans program since 2011, and has honored over 100 veterans in some way since that time. Lt. Col. (Ret.) Banks and Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) (Ret.) Holt have been involved in the program for the past 18 months. “We first got involved when Shelly Murray gave a talk to the Southern Oklahoma Military Officer’s Association about ways to help out with hospice care,” Banks said.

“We were very excited after we heard about the We Honor Veterans program. It’s always more fulfilling talking to veterans face to face and this sounded like a perfect opportunity,” Holt said. “To us, a veteran is anyone who wore a uniform for any length of time, and we’re very proud to honor them.”

“Once Clint and Janet came on board, our program took on a whole new meaning,” Murray said. “There’s just something so special about that veteran-to-veteran connection.”

Banks elaborated on this connection, “To me, one of the best parts of the ceremony is after it’s over and we’re all sitting around talking. The veterans start to open up, and they begin to tell stories that their families have never even heard before. It’s amazing to be a part of something so special.”

The Ceremony

The Chaplain gives a brief sermon and says a prayer.

Rubetta Miller, Cross Timbers Hospice Caregiver support director, sings and performs her original song, “Thank You for your Service to America.”

Holt introduces himself and Banks then presents a lap blanket in the patient’s service branch colors along with two pins, one of the American flag, the other displaying the We Honor Veterans logo.

Banks presents a certificate that she signs along with Holt. She then reads the poem “Our Humbled Heroes.”

Both salute and everyone visits and shares stories.

The two put on their “cover” (hats to those of us not in the service) to do a formal salute and end the ceremony.