Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Mike Harrell of Dixie County was recognized for his military service in the U.S. Marine Corps and his service as a Haven volunteer at a recognition program at the Haven Hospice Tri-Counties Care Center in Chiefland on February 25. Mike was the first veteran volunteer to facilitate vet-to-vet pinning ceremonies in the Tri-Counties which began five years ago. During that time, Mike traveled over 6,000 miles to recognize 181 Haven Hospice veteran patients in the Tri-Counties for their military service. He always traveled at his own expense and in 2013 alone, Mike traveled 2,500 miles to recognize fellow veterans.
In just one Saturday, we went from one end of the Tri-Counties to the other and recognized five veterans,” said Haven Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Vondla Sullivan. Haven Hospice Chiefland Administrator and Assistant Vice President of Operations DeAnna Beverly said that, Mike truly appreciated patients and families. “Whether on the weekend, during the week or day or night, Mike was there to make sure that the veterans in our community that Haven Hospice was serving were recognized.”
Levy County Director of Veterans Services Robert Lowyns first asked Mike to volunteer for the Haven program. “We wanted to ensure that veterans in the community are recognized for their service while they are still living, and create a partnership between the Veteran Services of Levy County, the Tri-County Detachment Marine Corps League 1018 and Haven Hospice.”
Haven Hospice Director of Access Patrick Allen was the Haven Tri-Counties Administrator when the program began in 2010. “I went with Mike on one of the first veteran recognitions Haven did in the Tri-Counties,” said Patrick. “The veteran patient made a special effort to stand and salute Mike during the ceremony. The service that Mike provided for veterans and their families was priceless and so incredibly meaningful to all of us. “
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Mike was also honored with special recognitions by the Levy County Veterans Services, the Dixie County Commissioners and the Levy County Commissioners.
Being a National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) Partner in the We Honor Veterans Program, Haven Hospice honors veteran patients with a pinning ceremony, a thank you card signed by the staff and a certificate of appreciation from Haven Hospice which are all presented by volunteer veterans. The presentation ends with a salute to honor the veteran’s service.