Open Accessibility Menu

Hospice We Honor Veterans Program Recognizes Service and Sacrifice

Published in Hospice Services, Volunteer Services

On November 22, 1963, Jim Kadlec was on active duty with the U.S. Army in Germany. He could still vividly recall the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, along with the high military alert activation, followed by spending the next several days – around the clock – in the lead artillery bunker at their German base.

Click to view larger.

Last winter Jim took the time to go through his boxes stored with army service mementos – uncovering objects that contained the remembrances of his service. From his time at Fort Sill Army Base in Oklahoma, to the personal documents, images and items that marked his time in Germany and throughout Europe.

He recalled many stories, always with pride, when reminded of his time, his buddies and their experiences exploring Europe while in the military. He also received many accolades, including rifle and sharpshooter awards in his unit. He credited this success to his hunting skills honed while at home in Minnesota.

Click to view larger.

Nearly six decades later, Jim's youngest daughter captured these personal items and placed them in shadow boxes to preserve and proudly display Jim's stories. She knew there was an opportunity coming up that would be a fitting time to present these to her dad.

Hospice Honors Our Veterans

In September 2022, Jim had entered the care and support of CentraCare Hospice in Willmar. Hospice volunteers were preparing to recognize Jim for his military service in the U.S. Army, through the We Honor Veteran's program.

CentraCare Hospice, formerly Rice Hospice, became a national partner in the We Honor Veterans (WHV) Program, a campaign developed between the National Hospice Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to focus more attention on the important contributions and the needs of Veterans at the end of life.

"Through the WHV program, we are able to pay tribute to Veteran's like Jim for their military service to America and for advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all," said Gina Jacobs, Hospice Social Work Coordinator.

Jim Kadlec with Veteran Volunteer, Paul Hedin
Jim Kadlec with Veteran Volunteer, Paul Hedin

On Oct. 2, Hospice Veteran Volunteer, Paul Hedin, presented Jim with a certificate of appreciation and a pin, along with several gifts. Following the pinning ceremony, his daughter felt it would be a fitting time to present her dad with the beautiful shadow boxes she lovingly prepared with his military keepsakes.

A Good Day to Work in Hospice

Following the Veteran's recognition ceremony, CentraCare's Hospice team received the following note from Jim's family.

"On behalf of our family, I wanted to thank you for today. We continue to hear how wonderful it was from Jim. Please let me express our gratitude to you all for this lovely honor and day for him. I hope you'll agree, today was a good day to work in Hospice. From my family – our deepest expression of joy and warmth to you all. Please keep sharing your very special gifts with the community – God's presence amongst us."

Two and a half weeks later, on October 21, 2022, James (Jim) Kadlec passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at home.

Click to view larger.

"It was an honor for CentraCare – Hospice to recognize and share appreciation for Jim's service while he was with us," said Jacobs. "We have a strong commitment to honoring our Veterans in all branches of service for the sacrifices they made to preserve the freedoms we all cherish."