Indian Oaks Living Center in Harker Heights was the site of a celebration on Nov. 10 for 35 regular residents and four in hospice care who are military veterans.

Kei Jenkins, community development coordinator of Standards Home Health and Hospice, described the event as giving back to veterans and the sacrifice they made to our country.

“There are not only the veterans who live in this facility but there are many of our employees that have veterans in their families, or are the spouse or dependent of a veteran,” Jenkins said.

Standards Home Health also works with the We Honor Veterans Program that places veterans with veterans on a volunteer basis.

“They sit with veterans who are in hospice care, spend time and read to them in addition to playing games and assembling puzzles,” Jenkins said.

Several residents and family members gathered in the cafeteria for the ceremony. The veterans received a certificate of appreciation, U.S. flag lapel pin and a coffee cup. Everyone in attendance shared cake and punch.

Terry Kennedy, chaplain for Standards Hospice, expressed his appreciation to the veterans by saying, “It’s been said and I believe that we often take for granted the very things that deserve our indebtedness.

“Veterans Day has been set aside to honor and not forget the men and women of all the military branches whether veterans or active duty. If you served under the great flag of this nation, we stand and salute you. You trained, gave up time with family, traveled to foreign countries and suffered through the loss of a fallen comrade,” Kennedy said.

The Herald spoke with three veterans who live at Indian Oaks.

Danny Brian, 65, a 6-year veteran with the Marine Corps, said, ”I spent some time in Vietnam then came back to the states to get training in logistics. I eventually got out of the Corps on a medical discharge in 1976.

“I appreciate this celebration today but my thoughts are with the men and women who couldn’t be here for an event like thism” he said. “They paid the ultimate price and that’s where the true glory belongs”

Jimmy Hayes, 74, an Air Force B-29 gunner in the Korean War, said it was quite an experience, to say the least.

“We were dropping bombs on ’em so they had a right to shoot at us,” Hayes said. Hayes’ dad served in World War I and his brothers fought in World War II.

“It was our job to join the military and fight for our country. We were always appreciated for our service.”

Henry B. Taff, 77, served 21 years as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army.

When asked what a staff sergeant did, Taff replied, “Everything. If it meant climbing up on a tank to find out what they needed, I did it! I worked in the supply room and did whatever my commanding officer told me to do. Most of my tour was in Germany.”

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