Grand View Health honored veterans and active duty military this morning with a ceremony at the flagpole next to the main entrance of the hospital. Staff, physicians, and the community attended.
The tribute, presented by Dr. Thomas Hipp, an Army Veteran, a pediatrician, and a past Grand View Board member, led the event. Pastor Chris Nickels, of Spring Mount Mennonite Church in Schwenksville, opened in prayer. Included was music, personal stories from three employees, and a flag ceremony led by staff veterans, Tom Hennink, Claudia Gardner, Dr. Richard Lorraine and Herm Sharrer. The event concluded with a “Witting Tree” ceremony in which veterans placed dog tags on a tree in a somber tribute to the approximately 22 veterans per day who lose their lives to suicide. The Witting Tree concluded with TAPS, by Robert Maxwell.
Children from the 5th grade Souderton Charter School Collaborative, conducted by Karen Burke, presented patriotic music, including bell and ukulele accompaniment. Generations Chamber Ensemble performed songs on the clarinet, led by Jim Garcia, a 25-year veteran of the Coast Guard, and Rachel Jesiolowski, a PA-C employed at Grand View. Three employees shared heartfelt stories, including Sandy Huskin, Heather Avers, and Roger Kessler.
“We are grateful for the sacrifices and selflessness of our veterans on staff, physicians, family members and neighbors who proudly serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces,” said Diane Roberts, Veteran Advocacy Liaison Officer for Grand View. “We were pleased to have our community join us at this annual event to pay tribute to their brave service.”
At the conclusion of the event, guests were given the opportunity to take home a dog tag. Each tag had a gold star, to signify those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Inside the lobby was a POW/MIA table, set as a symbol of remembrance.