Some things in our lives embody such significant memories that they transform from inanimate objects to physical reminders of a story and a life. For Robert (Bobby) Keenan, it was the Purple Heart Medal awarded to him for heroic efforts and injuries he sustained during two tours of the Vietnam War. To him, the Purple Heart represents a time when his odds for survival were not high. Thus, this metal holds important significance in his life.
Bobby and his wife, Michelle, were living in Sedro Woolley when their house was destroyed by fire. Amidst ailing health and a string of unfortunate events, many of their possessions were never recovered after the fire – including Bobby’s Purple Heart.
After months of living in a hotel and several stays in the hospital, Bobby and Michelle were able to return to their home. Not long after, Bobby became a Hospice of the Northwest patient. The hospice care team learned that Bobby and Michelle had built a community at the local American Legion, and that his honorable military service was a significant part of his life. His team asked if he would like to meet HNW volunteer and fellow veteran, Richard. During their first meeting, Richard learned about the missing Purple Heart and the distress its absence brought to their family.
Because Richard recognized the huge loss this represented, he spoke with the team and arranged for purchase of a replacement. Once it arrived, Richard and the care team were able to surprise Bobby and his family with a small ceremony. “Mama, it’s home!” exclaimed Bobby, filled with emotion.
“He was so shocked,” his wife recalled, “he wanted it in his life so badly.”
Moments like this bring powerful experiences and gratitude at the end of life. Hospice of the Northwest is able to help patients and families in this special way because of the generosity of donors like you. Your gifts support vital interventions and cherished moments like these for patients and families, and we are so thankful for all that you do to support our mission to provide compassion and dignity every moment of life.
About Hospice of the Northwest
We are a skilled, caring, and compassionate team of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, aides, volunteers and generous community donors.
Together we provide patient-centered care for people facing serious illness. We’ve been serving the residents of Island, San Juan, Skagit and Snohomish Counties since 1989 and want to know how we can support you or your loved one.