The uniformed veteran stepped forward, raising his hand to his forehead in a silent salute.
Lewis R. Shannon looked at it fondly on his face, nodding very slightly at the gesture of respect.
Shannon, a WWII veteran, was surrounded by family, friends and neighbors. Main Street Hospice staff and volunteers, who had come to Shannon’s home to honor her for her military service, joined them.
For the Franklin resident, 102, it was a wonderful feeling.
âI am proud. It has been pleasant, very pleasant,â he said.
Shannon, who recently started treatment at the hospice, sat with a smile on her face as hospice staff shook hands with him, thanked him for his service and gave him gifts.
The ceremony was a small gesture to recognize Shannon’s sacrifice for her country, said Kim Weddle, administrator of Main Street Hospice.
âIt is an honor for us to be able to serve our veterans. We love being able to give back and show them how much we appreciate their service to our country, âshe said. âIt’s so important for us to be able to make a difference in the life of this veteran.
Main Street Hospice is part of We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Hospice Care Organization in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The program calls on hospices, state hospices, and veterans affairs institutions to use respectful inquiry, listening and acknowledgment when treating veterans.
Through the program, Main Street Hospice can coordinate care with Veterans Affairs facilities, ensure patients receive all of the benefits available to them, and focus on the unique needs of Veterans and their families.
The hospice has also started offering military honor ceremonies whenever a veteran begins treatment, Weddle said.
âWe have been doing this since we opened,â she said. âDuring their initial assessment, we find out about their veteran status and their history, and then we schedule a ceremony with the family. We just chat with them and let them share whatever they want to share about their service.
One of the hospice volunteers, Steve Prosser, is a Vietnam veteran who served in the US Navy Seabees, as well as a chaplain. During ceremonies, he puts on his honor guard uniform to greet them in a moment of silence.
Being a part of the ceremonies is one of the most rewarding things he does.
âIt is such an honor and privilege to serve these gentlemen who have come before us,â he said.
Winners receive a branch pin, framed certificate and a homemade red, white and blue throw. Prosser also gave him a “challenge coin” – a medallion depicting the five military branches given to veterans.
Recognizing Shannon is important, Weddle said.
“It’s so touching for our staff to be able to go and do this,” she said.
Shannon, born March 27, 1919 in Sidney, Ohio, enlisted in the United States Army in February 1941, leaving his work as a painter. He received basic training in Fort Stevens, Oregon, before moving to Tennessee to train as a diesel engine mechanic.
But for most of World War II, he served at Fort Stevens, preparing the West Coast for a possible Japanese invasion. Much of her time has been spent planting mines in the ocean – an uncomfortable task for someone who doesn’t like water, said Mary Fletcher, Shannon’s daughter.
Shannon has received the American Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Service Medal, and Victory Medal for her services. He was an expert M1 rifle shooter.
After the war, he was demobilized in 1945. Shannon returned to Ohio, settled in Wisconsin and then in Indiana, where he worked in several factories, including RCA and Stewart Warner, alongside engineers. He also attended locomotive school, Fletcher said.
On Tuesday, he was surrounded by his relatives and neighbors, sitting in the shade and standing around him, holding his hand and giving him a supportive pat on the shoulder. Those who were unable to attend were able to attend a video call.
A photograph of Shannon and his wife was placed in a silver frame on the table next to him. Her medals and awards were displayed around her.
The whole experience was one that Shannon – and her family – were grateful for.
“It’s great that they’re doing this for daddy.” It was tough for him back then, âFletcher said.
The Shannon file
Lewis R. Shannon
Place of residence: Franklin
Military Service: Enlisted by the US Army in 1941. Stationed at Fort Stevens, Oregon until 1945.
Honors: the American Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theater Service Medal and the Victory Medal