Hospice honors veteran for service From Spotlight on Health - Fall 2011
When Eugene Marthaler was drafted into the Korean War at age 20, he left behind a young bride and small-town Minnesota for the frontlines as a tank crew member. After a year, he returned home to a 6-month-old baby. Four more children soon followed and life took on a rhythm of work, home and family.
As the children grew up in St. Cloud, Eugene instilled high standards and the value of a good education.
“He was proud to be an American and to have served his country. He was the first to stand and salute when the American flag went by,” said Eugene’s daughter, Nancy Goodwin.
Eugene’s children were just as proud of their dad. As Eugene’s health declined this past spring from his battle with colon cancer, he was moved to Quiet Oaks Hospice House near St. Cloud.
George Aleshire, We Honor Veterans volunteer, recently paid his respects to the children of deceased veteran, Eugene Marthaler, near the war memorial at Lake George. Shown next to Aleshire are Tom, Paul and David Marthaler and
Nancy (Marthaler) Goodwin.
While at Quiet Oaks, he was honored by St. Cloud Hospital Hospice Services, a national partner with the We Honor Veterans campaign. The campaign was developed by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization along with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide care and support to veterans in hospice care to reflect the important contributions made by veterans.
Eugene wasn’t looking for accolades for serving his country, so it came as a surprise when hospice volunteer George Aleshire presented a plaque to honor him. Eugene was moved to tears. The tribute came just two days before Eugene died.
“Being able to honor a fellow veteran is a privilege,” said George.
The children were grateful to the staff of St. Cloud Hospital Hospice and Quiet Oaks for honoring their father for his contribution.
“The care and support given by the hospice staff was so personal. We weren’t doing this alone,” said Nancy.
Eugene’s son, David Marthaler, added, “The ceremony really strengthened him during his last days.
My dad was a firm believer that it is our obligation as a citizen to pay back this great country and not just have our hand out.”
Each year, more than 25 percent of those who die in the United States are veterans. Many of the veterans who served in World War II and Korea are passing away -- and the number of Vietnam veterans’ deaths is beginning to rise.
St. Cloud Hospital Hospice Services
We Honor Veterans Program