Tom Bates, Army Veteran and member of American Legion Post 34 Honor Guard, stands by his fellow Veterans and volunteers his time to honor Veterans receiving Hospice care. “I originally started volunteering because I saw the work that Hospice & Community Care was doing at White Oak Manor in Rock Hill. I worked there for over twenty-one years. I thought it was so nice how Hospice came over here and took care of the patients. They were so caring. When Hospice opened their current location, I came over and helped do the safety and fire inspections. I learned that they took care of so many people without charging them. Veterans included.”
Tom decided to volunteer with Hospice. When Tom spoke to others, he realized how many Veterans were served by Hospice & Community Care and decided to become a Veteran volunteer. “This is something I need to do, helping people is what I do. This is why I am also on the Honor Guard for the Legion. Why we formed the honor guard at Post 34. We present the colors and do funerals free of charge for Veterans,” said Tom.
Tom recommends visiting and supporting the Veteran Garden. “Come down and show your appreciation for our Veterans. Show that you really care and that they are not forgotten. For me the Veteran Garden here at Hospice represents patriotism. It shows that we respect the feelings of the Veterans because they went and fought for patriotism. I am honored to represent Veterans, current and past.”
At Hospice, our Veteran volunteers honor our Veteran patients by performing a pinning ceremony. “It is a way to recognize them for what they did, something to share with their families and friends. This is important, especially for those who didn’t get recognized. It feels good to be appreciated,” said Tom. “Even patients you believe can’t hear you; they can sense your presence as a fellow Veteran. You may believe they don’t know we are there but they do. A Vet is a Vet. I love doing this work because it gives you a feeling of togetherness. There is a bond there, and we share that bond. A bond that can’t be broken.”
Tom joined other dignitaries for the Ribbon Cutting of the Veteran Garden on the Hospice & Community Care Campus in the Fall of 2017.