Showing Gratitude, Honor, and Respect to our Nation’s Heroes: An Interview with Covenant Volunteer Jim Kirby

When an individual who has served our country faithfully is cared for by Covenant Hospice, that individual is shown the gratitude, honor, and respect that he or she deserves. Shortly after admission, veteran patients are awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation to recognize that individual for their service to our great nation by one or more Covenant Volunteers who also served in uniform. Additionally, Covenant provides opportunities for veteran volunteers and veteran patients to spend time together and enjoy companionship which is spent sharing stories and common experiences.

The following are experiences that describe the nature of these relationships as described to me by Jim Kirby, a Covenant Volunteer and retired Navy Pilot with 29 years of flying experience:

Mr. Kirby described a relationship between a patient and himself where the two shared more in common than just being veterans or even, veterans in the Navy – they served on the same ship. Years ago, Mr. Kirby collected a replica of the ship with the intention of assembling the model and displaying it in his home but as the years would have it, the ship was never put together. Well as a result of the experience the two shared, Mr. Kirby assembled the model and shared it with his new friend who was touched by his volunteer’s thoughtfulness.

On another occasion, Mr. Kirby had a patient who was a World War II veteran and was among the first to storm Normandy. Mr. Kirby, in his travels to Europe which happened to coincide with his relationship with the patient, made a point to stop in Normandy and collected a jar full of sand from the beaches near to where this gentleman reported being. Needless to say this was an extraordinary act of kindness that was certainly a meaningful memento for one of our veteran patients.  

These two stories are wonderful examples of Covenant’s commitment to the veterans we serve and special thanks should certainly be extended to Mr. Kirby along with the entire Volunteer Services department at Covenant Hospice for their commitment to our patients.

Brian Ranelli

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