Heartland Hospice serving Southeastern Wisconsin presented patient, James Shawlin, with a Quilt of Honor during a special ceremony. “As a partner of the We Honor Veterans program, Heartland Hospice is committed to caring for and honoring those who have served,” explained Volunteer Coordinator, Emilee High. “The mission of the Quilts of Honor organization is to bestow a universal symbol and token of thanks, solace, and remembrance to those who served in harm’s way to protect and defend our lives and freedoms. Presenting a quilt is just one of the many ways Heartland gives thanks to our veteran patients,” added Emilee.
Mr. Shawlin enlisted in the Navy in 1955 and actively served for 30 years, which included more than three years in Vietnam as a patrol officer. He was awarded two Purple Heart medals for his service. After his time in Vietnam, Mr. Shawlin took on various positions, including the very difficult job of serving as a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer – personally visiting families to deliver the news that their loved one died serving their country. He also travelled to Chicago, Scotland and Hawaii, among other places. Mr. Shawlin continued on to teach Naval Science at Marquette University and ROTC at Bay View High School both in Milwaukee, WI. He retired in October of 1985.
Along with Emilee, Heartland team members, Lisa Servais, social worker; Jackie Konkol, RN case manager; and Colleen Fechtmeyer, team coordinator helped to plan a special ceremony that included the presence of the Shawlin family and some of Mr. Shawlin’s favorite treats – root beer and mini-cupcakes! However one of the most touching moments happened when Commander Tim Baranzyk, a fellow Vietnam veteran, from the American Legion Post 416 in Greendale, WI, came to offer his camaraderie, appreciation and a hug.
“It was an extremely memorable and emotional afternoon for all. Many of Mr. Shawlin’s family members had never heard his stories from Vietnam before, so this event provided an unforgettable moment that will live on in the hearts of his family forever,” explained Lisa.