Heartland Hospice serving North Central Illinois and Southern Wisconsin is a Level 3 member of the We Honor Veterans (WHV) Program. As a Level 3 member, they provide all new veteran patients with a bedside pinning ceremony in the comfort of the patient’s home. They are also thanked with a certificate and a poem with a star that has been cut from an old American flag that has been retired. They also receive a homemade blanket.
Blankets are donated by a variety of community organizations and volunteers. In any given year, Heartland may receive over 50 blankets. Recently, Heartland Volunteer Coordinator, Belinda O’Brien noticed that the blanket supply was getting low. Over lunch with her friend, Jennifer, when Belinda mentioned the low blanket supply, Jennifer had an immediate solution. As the leader of a local Girl Scout troop, her scouts would make fleece blankets with tied fringe borders to help replenish the supply.
Jennifer saw this opportunity as a way to show not only the girls, but other people as well, the importance of recognizing the men and women who have made sacrifices for our freedoms. “I was hoping we were able to make the blankets because my husband is a veteran and my father-in-law was a veteran, so it’s kind of a subject that’s close to our hearts,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer’s twin daughters, Jessica and Tina, are part of the Girl Scout troop and helped make the blankets. “I liked being able to help out the veterans and want them to know that people are thinking about them and care about them. I had fun making the camouflage blanket I picked out. It made me feel good that I was able to help,” Jessica said. “I really enjoyed this experience and love the Marines blanket I made. I hope the veterans understand that we all care about them and are thankful for everything they have done for us,” said Tina.
A total of 32 blankets were made and donated to Heartland Hospice. This was the first donation of blankets with designs from all of the military branches on them.