Carlos Thomas spent his afternoon regaling his audience with a story about the time he was sought out to stand watch at an entrance of his base in Korea for the arrival of Bob Hope who was going to entertain the troops. “It was a really big deal, but I didn’t care nothing about it,” Thomas said. “At first, I thought I was in trouble. But they picked me because they knew I wouldn’t be scared to check all of their ID cards.”

Thomas told the story surrounded by friends who were all present to witness his Haven Hospice Veteran Pinning Ceremony performed by Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Fran Martin. Thomas served in the United States (U.S.) Army for two years as an Ammunition Specialist during the Korean War.

This ceremony was made possible because of a decision that Maryann Swift and her husband, Leslie, made recently. “We had been traveling down to visit my sister-in-law and Carl in Apopka for a few years,” Maryann said. “We found out in November that Carl was going to be homeless. My husband and I discussed it and decided that we couldn’t let Carl be homeless. We went down there and brought him to our home.”

The Swifts have enjoyed the increased time spent with Thomas. “Oh, we love it. We call him our little man around here,” Maryann said. “The kids have really adjusted to him being here, and we all really enjoy being able to spend this time with him. He has some great stories to tell.”

Thomas enjoyed the captive audience to share some of his military stories with but appreciates the Swifts’ kindness more than anything. “I can’t say a bad word about them. They’re great,” Thomas said. “It’s so nice of them to put up with an old man like me.”

Haven Hospice Pinning Ceremony for veteran patients includes a veteran pin, 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.