Memorial Day: honoring our veterans with great care

As Memorial Day approaches, we should all honor veterans like Jim Evans who are still with us, and thank them for their service. Photo: Courtesy San Diego Hospice

SAN DIEGO, May 25, 2012 — One in four deaths each day in the United States is someone who is a military veteran. Here in San Diego, we are acutely aware of our veteran population, with over 260,000 veterans in our community.

The world renowned San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine believes it is important to understand the unique needs of veterans, and provide them with the best end-of-life care possible with those needs at the forefront. One of them is Jim Evans.

Evans is a World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient who has benefited from San Diego Hospice care for more than a year. He speaks of his military service with an unmistakable sense of pride and reverence. “My time in the military was the greatest experience of my life,” says Evans.

At 18, Jim Evans entered military service with the United States Army. He was selected for Officers Candidate School (OCS) and graduated as the youngest Second Lieutenant at that time. Shortly after OCS, Evans was assigned as a platoon leader with the 4th Infantry Division in England.

On June 6, 1944, he along with some 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. Evans’ platoon landed on Utah Beach. Minor injuries and brief hospitalization did not keep Evans from returning to action with the 79th Infantry Division. He was promoted to First Lieutenant. His platoon members called him “Red” and although he was the youngest in his group, after a few combat encounters, his men accepted his capabilities and trusted his leadership.

While serving with the 79th Infantry, Evans was seriously injured, hospitalized and in physical therapy for close to three years. During his successful career in the U.S. Army, Evans was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He retired from the military and found success as a marketing executive and vice president in the food industry. In 1966, he and his young family made San Diego their home.

In looking back on his military experience, Evans credits the lessons he learned in shaping his life personally and professionally. “The military taught me leadership, determination and caring.”

Today, Evans receives care and support from San Diego Hospice. “Hospice helps me find answers,” said Evans.

Veterans Matter is San Diego Hospice’s commitment to veterans and all the military in the community. In conjunction with the national We Honor Veterans movement, sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Veterans Affairs, San Diego Hospice provides training to its staff in areas related to veterans’ experiences and needs specific to wars and trauma, military culture, mental health issues, and benefits as well as provide additional recognition for veterans on our service.

“San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine has always had the philosophy of respecting and honoring our veterans and patients’ cultures, traditions and beliefs,” said Kathleen Pacurer, President and CEO. “Our Veterans Matter outreach program recognizes those who have done our country a great honor, by allowing us to honor them with great care.”

San Diego Hospice shows great respect for those who have been willing to risk their lives for our country. To thank a veteran who comes into their care, the veterans is honored with a special ceremony in their home or wherever they call home. For veterans residing in San Diego Hospice’s inpatient care centers, additional recognition is placed in patient room in the form of military flags, displays, and the veteran’s own cherished keepsakes.

Through the Veterans Matter program, San Diego Hospice trains it staff and volunteers to recognize and understand military culture, needs specific to wars and trauma, mental health issues and general understanding of benefits available to veterans through the Veterans Affairs system.

Every patient identified as a veteran receives a military history assessment so staff can better understand their years of service, help to determine their needs and match them with benefits and services that may be available to them. 

But no one truly understands a veteran like another veteran who’s been there. The Vet-to-Vet Volunteer Program matches patients that are veterans with active duty or veteran volunteers, providing companionship, caregiver relief, and assistance with special recognition ceremonies. 

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego. Photo: Erin Payne.

As Memorial Day approaches, it is incumbent upon all of us to honor veterans like Jim Evans who are still with us to thank them for their service. It is also vitally important to remember the sacrifices of Evans’ comrades and many others before and since who allow us to live in freedom in the greatest nation on earth. There is truly no thank you and no single holiday that will ever be enough to compensate for their commitment.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

LifeCycles is intended to provide inspiration and information only. If you are considering any health, dietary, exercise or lifestyle changes based on the information provided here, please seek advice from a qualified professional.

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, radio segment contributor and media guest, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more  LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate


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