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Patient Centered Care By (and for!) Veterans

Posted on March 30th, 2020

Meet Halley Harris, a hospice social worker, and Debbie Melnyk, HNW’s accountant & information systems specialist. 

Halley is an Army Veteran who served from ‘96-’02 as an Apache Helicopter Mechanic. After boot camp in Kentucky and training in Virginia, Halley was stationed in Germany for three years and was deployed to Bosnia for a peacekeeping mission. 

“As a social worker, being a veteran helps immensely. To have the understanding of what it’s like to serve helps immensely. There is an entire culture you have an understanding of, you don’t have to explain. There is an instant connection through the bond and brotherhood of serving. You just know you can count on them for your life.”

Halley further explains that, “there are many Vietnam Veterans that are coming into hospice service. This is a new generation of veterans that came home from war to a culture of disapproval and contention in the country, not a culture of acceptance and support. Recognizing this as an agency is important. I see a fair amount of some veterans who still don’t want to talk about it. We honor that by holding space as well.”

Debbie is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. Debbie served from 1992-1996 as a bulk fuel specialist and then as a technician who would refuel aircraft. Her Boot Camp was located in South Carolina, and she continued training in Virginia. During her service, Debbie was stationed in Okinawa and Twentynine Palms, CA. What she remembers most was the incredible amount of loyalty, integrity, and commitment her service required. These qualities have moved forward with her since her time in the military. 

On Veteran recognition and pinning ceremonies, Debbie emphasizes, 

“I have a huge appreciation for the HNW Volunteers that put the ceremonies together. By recognizing them for serving our country, we honor them by not letting them forget we appreciate what they did. The reality is that it has tremendous value. I see that so many veterans struggle in their everyday lives. If every community supported veterans like Hospice of the Northwest, their quality of life would be better.”

Hospice of the Northwest values and benefits greatly from the service of our Veteran staff members, volunteers, and community members, and because of them, HNW is able to care for the Veterans in our community with the respect and compassion they earned.

To learn more about how We Honor Veterans, or how you can help, contact us at 360-814-5550.

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.

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