July 19, 2022

Saluting Our Valued Veterans

Jacob Feaster salutes in front of the veterans wall

Jacob Feaster, who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force, was one of the veterans in attendance at the unveiling of a veteran wall of honor. The wall of honor is one of the many ways VITAS honors veterans.

To show honor and respect to the veterans of Charter Senior Living in Gainesville, Florida, VITAS unveiled a veteran wall of honor in July. The memorial wall features the names and pictures of residents who have served in the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War, and other armed conflicts.

We want to serve those who served us first.-Christina Coffield, VITAS representative

The event featured a ribbon cutting by the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce and a pinning ceremony led by Officer Patrick Treese, a Coast Guard veteran and head of Newberry High School’s Academy of Criminal Justice, along with the up-and-coming generation of service members.

The following veterans received pins:

  • William Evans, National Guard
  • Jacob Feaster, Army & Air Force
  • Wilbur Groves, Air Force
  • Norman Hallock, Army
  • Robert “Bruce” Jones, Navy
  • Jerome Leyendecker, Army
  • Anthony Messina, Marine Corps
  • John Saffer, Navy
  • Fred Snellgrove, Army
  • Richard Wheeler, Army & Navy

In proxy, Rosalie Spada, who is the oldest living Korean War female Marine, also received a pin.

Making It Personal

William Evans receives a pin for his service

William Evans, who served in the National Guard, receives a pin for his service from criminal justice student Keegan Lowrey.

Christina Coffield, the daughter of a veteran and the VITAS representative who led the event coordination, said: “Gainesville veterans are close to our heart. During the pandemic, we partnered with students who wrote 4,000 letters expressing their thanks to veterans for the freedoms they enjoy today. We want to serve those who served us first.”

Echoing this sentiment was Angela Hamrick, general manager for VITAS in the Nature Coast.

"At VITAS, every day is Veterans Day,” said Angela. “Our experts are trained to help meet the unique needs veterans face as they near the end of life, and our dedicated hospice teams provide compassionate care to improve their quality of life. Through pain and symptom management, VITAS can help them make the most of their remaining time."

Other VITAS team members showed their appreciation and regard for the sacrifices of these veterans by attending the ceremony, including Director of Market Development Donald Bussey, Rep Isaiah Brinza, Volunteer Manager Lynda Schladant, and Army veteran volunteer Lacey Wallace. 

Recognition on a Statewide Level

Community and state leaders also joined the day's events to honor the veterans.

Dirk Frazel, regional field director for the Republican Party of Florida, read a letter of commendation from Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Marco Rubio for VITAS' work in honoring and upholding the community's veterans.

Following the presentation, representatives from the Veterans Administration offered education to veterans and their families on how to maximize their benefits. VITAS partners with veterans to determine benefits and serves as a resource for advance care planning, including for those who are not patients.

Since 2019, the Gainesville community has welcomed VITAS hospice teams in delivering compassionate care to patients and their families at home throughout Alachua County and the Nature Coast.

Leaders from Charter at the veterans wall

VITAS Rep Christina Coffield (center) poses with Executive Director Christine Rodriguez (L) and Director of Health and Wellness Raven Monroe, RN, of Charter Senior Living.

VITAS team in front of the veterans wall

Gainesville’s VITAS team (from left): Lacey Wallace, Army veteran volunteer; Lynda Schladant, volunteer manager; Christina Coffield and Isaiah Brinza, VITAS reps; and Donald Bussey, director of market development.


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