Veterans salute

Richardson hospice to honor veterans at benefit event
by Jeff Pederson of The Review staff


JOE DEAN, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight founder and chairman, will be a featured guest at the We Honor Veterans program to benefit the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls on Thursday, March 14, at Acuity in Sheboygan. Dean is pictured speaking with former U.S. military veterans during a recent Stars and Stripes Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the war memorials. — Submitted photo JOE DEAN, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight founder and chairman, will be a featured guest at the We Honor Veterans program to benefit the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls on Thursday, March 14, at Acuity in Sheboygan. Dean is pictured speaking with former U.S. military veterans during a recent Stars and Stripes Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the war memorials. — Submitted photo All citizens of the United States owe a debt of gratitude to the military veterans that have sacrificed so much to ensure our everyday freedoms.

While veterans have given so selflessly to improve the lives of all Americans, they often do not receive the kind of end-of-life support and care that they so rich deserve.

Through a new association with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls is aiming to improve the vital connection between hospice facilities, VA centers and military veterans through the We Honor Veterans campaign.

“It may be surprising for people to learn that 25 percent of those who die each year in the U.S. are military veterans,” Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice Director of Development and Communications Linda Cates said. “A vast majority of veterans are not enrolled in VA programs, so they may not even be aware of the end-of-life services and benefits that are available to them.”

The Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice will launch its new end-of-life care initiative for veterans with a We Honor Veterans benefit on Thursday, March 14, from 6-8 p.m. at Acuity in Sheboygan.

“Acuity has been kind enough to allow us to use their incredible facility for this very unique program,” Cates said. “We are looking at this as a celebration of the individuals who have served in all branches of the military.”

The event serves as a fundraiser for the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice’s Patient Care Fund, which offers financial assistance to families of patients unable to pay for end-of-life hospice care and services.

Randy Schwoerer of Schwoerer and Associates is set to serve as the event planner and master of ceremonies for the special patriotic-themed program.

Schwoerer, who has organized several benefit programs in association with the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice over the past five years, is hoping to establish a new standard of success with the We Honor Veterans event.

“We are really aiming high with this event and I think people will be thrilled, entertained and moved all at the same time,” Schwoerer said. “Our goal all along has been to put together a memorable program that is like not other, and I think we’ve definitely done that.”

The grandeur of the majestic Acuity atrium will be enhanced with a variety of patriotic themed displays, light shows, musical performances, video presentations and keynote speeches.

“The entire evening will feature a full-blown sight and sound experience paying tribute to the veterans that have given their lives and participat- ed in all U.S. wars from the Civil War to the current War on Terrorism,” Schwoerer said. “When people come in they will be guided through a recreation of the War Memorial in Sheboygan and clips of the Honor Flight film will be displayed on surrounding video screens.

“Acuity’s large waterfall will be lit in a patriotic red, white and blue, while Sound Celebration and Vaguely Familiar will be performing patriotic songs as people make their way in,” he said.

Guests will start the evening by walking through a replica of local War Memorial in Sheboygan.

The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard and USNFCC Sea Cadets will provide a special presentation of the colors, followed by Vaguely Familiar performing the National Anthem.

Milwaukee WTMJ radio and television host Charlie Sykes will deliver the keynote presentation.

In addition, Stars & Stripes Honor Flight Founder and Chairman Joe Dean will introduce several video clips from the “Honor Flight” film which debuted last summer at Miller Park in Milwaukee, with attendance setting a new Guinness Book of Records mark.

“We are very happy to have Charlie and Joe joining us,” Schwoerer said. “They will be relaying stories and messages related to our great military veterans and the We Honor Veterans campaign.”

The benefit will conclude with a performance of “God Bless America” synchronized with a patriotic lighting presentation designed specifically around the design of the Acuity building.

“I am confident in saying that this will be one of the most unique and special celebrations our community has seen,” Schwoerer said. “Our goal is to deliver the spirit, energy, passion and respect that our veterans deserve and to highlight the importance of the We Honor Veterans campaign.”

Organizers are also anticipating some celebrity drop-ins, as well as some additional surprises for those in attendance.

“There may be some high-profile dignitaries in attendance, but we won’t really know for sure who will be there until the day of the event, so people will have to come out and see what we have in store,” Cates said.

Schwoerer said the We Honor Veterans campaign plays a key role in assessing the needs of veterans of military service and improving their end-of-life care experiences.

“We tend to forget that the current War on Terror has been going on for over 10 years,” Schwoerer said. “We need to raise more awareness on the effect war has on our veterans, because each war that our country has been in has provided different life experiences for those who have served in them.

“The We Honor Veterans initiative is an outstanding way to help hospice facilities and VA centers connect with veterans who need such services,” he said.

The We Honor Veterans benefit program came together after Cates formed an advisory team focused on maximizing the benefit of Acuity’s donation as event host and to secure other sponsors.

The We Honor Veterans benefit advisory team is comprised of Daven Claerbout, Dena Adamson, Randy Schwoerer, Don Hammond, Jon Schweitzer, Peter Geise, Sen. Joe Leibham and Tim DuFour.

“This will be a unique event draped in pride and support for our veterans,” said Hospice Administrator

Mary Brasseaux. “We are proud also to highlight initiatives that bring attention to our veterans, including the ‘Red Fridays’ and ‘Honor Flight.’”

Event tickets, which are $50 each ($25 tax deductible) and include beverages and appetizers, are available on the website www.ssrhospicehome.org or by phone at 467-1800.

Due to space restrictions, only 400 tickets will be available on a first-come basis.

“We only have 400 tickets available, so I would advise people not to wait to get them,” Cates said. “This is an event people will not want to miss.”

Acuity is located at 2800 South Taylor Drive in Sheboygan.

For more information call Linda Cates at 467-1800.


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