Dewhirst Family Funeral Homes Community Connections | Veterans Day 2014 In This Issue Methuen Veterans Services Methuen Veterans Services: Not Just on November 11 Spotlight on Peter Reynolds NH State Veterans Cemetery What is Decoration Day? Look Back: Traveling Vietnam Wall Comes to Salem Rockingham VNA & Hospice: We Care at Home FAQ: What Honors are Available to Veterans When They Die? Thomas Hargreaves, Director of Veterans Services for Methuen, may get more attention as Veteran's Day approaches, but his office is active year round helping former service members and their families receive the benefits they have earned. With a staff of two, Tom helps applicants fill out paperwork, including forms from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Massachusetts "Before, During and After A Loss" Spotlight on: Peter Reynolds – A Many of Many Talents "I do anything that needs to be done." That is how Peter Reynolds replied when asked, "What do you do at Dewhirst Family Funeral Homes?" legislation has provided services to veterans since the Civil War, he noted. Services to Methuen's veterans in the last fiscal year came to $512,000 of which 75% is reimbursed by the Commonwealth in the following year. Services are expanded for those who have served in time of war; those with 180 days of federal service qualify for benefits. There is some direct financial aid for low-income veterans, getting help to the truly needy. The goal is to keep families together. The Veterans Services office can help many veterans with education, housing, jobs, burial markers, health care, and filing for a "welcome home bonus" for those returning from service during a war. For a first deployment, the bonus is $1,000 for those in the war zone and $500 for eligible service members who were deployed elsewhere. For subsequent tours, the bonuses are halved. Tom said some veterans are not aware of this benefit, and his office is happy to help them apply. Wall of Honor A project to bring a Wall of Honor to the foyer of City Hall, recognizing those with ties to Methuen who have died in Peter explained "I don't stick service to our country, began about four years ago. The first to a title. I work the funerals, Methuen soldier killed in action in World War II was Arnold greet the families, and drive Greenwood. Three of those honored were family members when needed ... I also do a bit of City Councilor-at-Large Joyce Campagnone. The film of landscaping around the "Saving Private Ryan" is partially based on the property." Campagnone family. To date there are 21 honorees in 19 Rick Dewhirst said, "Peter is pictures; the Campagnone brothers are together in one photo. While honorees may have served as long ago as our 'go-to guy' when we need World War I, Tom doubts the wall will go farther back, but something done. He can always be counted on to pitch "hopefully won't be needed much into the future," he said. in whatever the need. We are "It's a tough way to get up on a wall." very fortunate to have him as part of our team." The office also provides medal service, helping service members or survivors apply for replacements of lost Peter has been medals. The process, Hargreaves notes, takes a couple of with Goundrey & Dewhirst years. The office also provides outreach into the community, since Robert Goundrey as with a recent Buddy Build where veterans helped remodeled an old farmhouse that became Goundrey Funeral Habitat for Humanity rehab the Saint Patrick's Convent in Lawrence into housing for needy families. Home - over fifty years ago Peter works part-time at a job he sincerely loves. He is especially passionate about greeting the families served by Dewhirst. He says, "Ministry has been a great part of my life and helping families in their time of need is my main Veterans Day Posters on Display With Veterans Day approaching, the walls of City Hall are decorated with posters made by Methuen schoolchildren honoring those who have served. The number of entries has been rising, from 63 in 2012 to 112 last year. Winners receive gift cards and recognition at the December School purpose, my ministry. I hope I am a comfort to them; people thank me for my kindness. But that has been my life," he explained. Committee meeting. Flag Retirement Ceremony Each year the Methuen veterans have a flag retirement ceremony, providing a respectful way to destroy damaged flags. In the week before the event, residents can take their Peter worked for many flags to the Veterans Services office in City Hall or drop years at Rockingham them at the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars Racetrack as a Track posts. Usually the ceremony takes place on Pearl Superintendent. He and his wife Marion, known Harbor Day, but affectionately as Kitty to all since it falls on a who knew her, were involved in Saturday this year, ministering to the employees the rite will be on the "backside" of the track. carried out on Peter says, "These employees Monday, December worked the stables, caring for 8th at noon on the the horses, and they were the veterans' lot at the poorest of the poor." Elmwood Cemetery. He and Kitty logged in 20,000 hours each running the chapel and the food pantry The most difficult at Rockingham. They collected part of his job, said clothes and furniture for those Tom, is the passing who had virtually nothing. They of older veterans. "In coordinated dinners twice a the past month or week. When the racetrack so, five vets or family closed, the horses and those members we have been helping have died. It's just age, who cared for them, stopped coming, so the ministry ended. since they were in their late 70s to early 90s, with service in World War II or Korea." At 85 years young, Peter doesn't want to think about retiring. He lost his beloved wife, Kitty, two years ago this month. His work at Dewhirst Funeral Home keeps him going. "Kitty was a very special person. She was an inspiration and her memory reminds me just how important one person is to another. I wish everyone would realize that. People. That is what is important in life." That is balanced by knowing he and his staff have helped veterans in need. "To see veterans turn things around...that's great. Recently a vet was having difficulty with his CDL (commercial trucking) license; we got him school and training, and he now has a job." Sometimes he refers applicants to the federal VA, but his office often helps with daunting paperwork. He finds satisfaction when they no longer need help because things have improved. "We get them over a rough spot and on with their lives. We add to their lives." Memorial Walkway at NH State Veterans Cemetery NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen Providing a Dignified Resting Place for All Veterans A source of pride to veterans' families and residents of NH, the 104 acres that comprise the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery convey peace through the beauty of nature. Located in Boscawen, a small historic town bounded by the Merrimack and Contoocook Rivers, the State Veterans Cemetery was the first state cemetery east of the Mississippi River to allow the interment of nonresident veterans, in keeping with their mission "To provide and maintain a dignified final-resting place to honor all veterans and eligible dependents which expresses the State's gratitude for their service to the country." The cemetery is open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset (administrative offices Monday through Friday 8 am - 4 pm) and provides both traditional burials and burials of cremated remains for veterans and their families. Gravesites cannot be reserved in advance; however, an application form and the required documents can be submitted, and an eligibility certificate will be issued to the veteran so that it can be safely stored until needed. Because the cemetery processes about 15 to 20 applications per week, the pre-application helps to facilitate the procedure. In the first three months of 2014, 133 veterans or family members were interred. 100 Nights of Remembrance at NH State Veterans Cemetery Memorial Walkway A feature of the NH State Veterans Cemetery is the Memorial Walkway which was inaugurated in 2002 and has grown to include 65 monuments honoring all five branches of the service, veterans' organizations, and war periods. Bricks funded by donations with memorial inscriptions make up the walkway. A multi-year project is underway to replace weather-worn and well-trodden bricks with new ones. 100 Nights of Remembrance The 100 Nights of Remembrance began on Memorial Day in 2006 when the Muchachos Drum and Bugle Corps sounded TAPS in rounds at the 20 white granite monuments that surround the grand flag at The State Veterans Cemetery. Commemorating all Americans who sacrificed and served the country, the 100 nights refers to the number of days between Memorial Day and September 11. Each night at 7 pm a bugler plays the series of 24 solemn notes that are known as TAPS. The program then continues through the fall, winter, and spring sounding TAPS every Sunday at 1 pm. Some of the buglers are professional musicians, some are amateurs and some have learned to play a bugle or trumpet just to sound TAPS for this moving and memorable program. Visit their website to learn more about the 100 Nights of Remembrance and to see their video, "The Sounding of Taps." Flags decorate the graves of veterans on Memorial Day. Whether you attend a special ceremony, the internment of a beloved veteran, or simply go to stroll the grounds for the beauty and nature that is there, your visit to the NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen will be a memorable one. Back to Top What is Decoration Day and How Did it Originate? Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. Its name originated from the custom of decorating the graves of casualties of war with flowers and flags. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30th when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The poet Moina Michael wrote: We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies. Michael then conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. Now observed on the last Monday in May, the holiday is often celebrated with cookouts, road races, and concerts. The real meaning of Memorial Day has for too many, gotten lost in holiday hoopla. To help remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in 2000 which asks that at 3:00 p.m. local time, all Americans "voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to TAPS." To commemorate this day of remembrance, consider volunteering at a local veterans organization to help place flags at grave sites or honor the fallen by displaying the American flag. On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, when it then should be raised to the top of the staff. Look Back: Traveling Vietnam Memorial Comes to Salem - October 15-19, 2014 On the afternoon of Wednesday October 15, Salem welcomed the Cost of Freedom's Traveling Wall to Grant Field at Salem High School on Geremonty Drive. The nearly life-size replica of Maya Lin's simple yet haunting Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC arrived with a thunderous motorcycle escort of veterans' organizations. The exhibit was in place until Sunday October 19, and the outdoor site was handicap accessible. Motorcyclists Honor the Fallen On October 15, motorcycles escorted the truck transporting the Tribute Wall from Rockingham Park to Grant Field. All Motorcyclists were welcome to attend. On October 18th, a Ride-In to Grant Field from Rockingham Park was held for the Veterans Day Celebration. Again all Motorcyclists were encouraged to join veterans at the rally points: Laconia, Portsmouth, Epping, Keene/Nashua, Manchester/Londonderry, Concord and Claremont." The major groups included in the escorts and motorcycle Ride-Ins are The NH Blue Reapers, The NH Patriot Guard Riders, NH Rolling Thunder Chapter 2, American Legion Riders, and Vietnam Veterans Of America; these and other NH veteran groups will also provide security for the area while the Traveling Wall is in Salem. Salem's Vietnam Legacy Salem has a long history of sending men and women to fight for our country. That service too often involves the ultimate sacrifice of the soldier's life. Within the memory of many of us, the Vietnam War was an era of great conflict not only in Asia but on the home front, as supporters and opponents clashed in the media and on the streets. Unlike those in earlier wars who marched home to parades and acclaim, Vietnam veterans returned to rancor and abuse. In the ensuing decades, that tide has turned and dissenters have found reconciliation. Goundrey & Dewhirst provided funeral services for two soldiers killed in Vietnam: PFC Robert Bernard Mann and Lance CPL William Nicholas Loomis. "We are honored to serve the military families," said Rick Dewhirst. "We provide the opportunity for full military honors at services; we secure veterans' flags from the Veteran's Administration and we apply for any and all funds that may be available. We try to find help for all of our honorably discharged veterans." The four sons of Salem who died in Vietnam are remembered on The Wall, the nation's memorial to the more than 58,000 men and women who died in Southeast Asia nearly half a century ago. A trip to our Nation's Capital is no longer necessary to visit these names and remember their sacrifice. Using the computerized master list, visitors will find each deceased's name on the wall's panels: Panel 26E, Row 9, Army PFC Robert Bernard Mann. Panel 26W Row 19, Navy EN3 Thomas Wilfred Gaudet. Panel 12E Row 20, Army SFC James Norman Finn. Panel 26E Row 66, Marine Lance Cpl William Nicholas Loomis. The Cost of Freedom Tribute There are several Traveling Walls, but the one that came to Salem was the "Cost of Freedom Tribute," a Texas-based project of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute. Salem's Patrick Hargreaves, chair of the Board of Selectmen and a long-time organizer of community holiday parades, spearheaded the fundraising necessary for the $18,500 cost to bring The Wall to town on behalf of the Salem Veteran's Association. Major donors included the Salem Co-Op Bank, the town of Salem Lancaster Fund, with substantial funds given by the AMVETS, American Post 63, K of C Council 4442, VFW and Women's Auxiliary, the Kiwanis Club, the Salem Historical Society, and Tuscan Brands. The Salem Press has donated printing services. At press time, Pat Hargreaves noted the need to raise more funds for the event brochure and he is asking the community to support the project with ads in the program. Hargreaves, himself a 10-year Army artillery veteran, said, "This is something that we believe the Town of Salem needs to keep our veterans and our community together and involved with each other." Some may ask, 'Why should the Traveling Wall come to Salem,' but I say, 'Why not?'" In addition to Vietnam veterans, the exhibit and programming honored first responders and emergency personnel, as well as veterans of all American wars from the Revolution to Afghanistan. Several events showcased the Traveling Wall's Salem visit: Wednesday October 15 - Welcome escort, 3-5 pm Thursday October 16 - Opening Ceremony, 1 pm Friday October 17 - Law Enforcement and Firefighter Recognition Day Saturday October 18 - Veterans Day Celebration Sunday October 19 - Veterans Day Observance The Cost of Freedom's Traveling Wall arrived in Salem following a stay in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, at the Patriots Point Developmental Authority [Charleston Harbor, home of the USS Yorktown]. After the program closed on October 19, the exhibit moved on to the Henryetta Historical Society in Henryetta, Oklahoma. Information on the Traveling Wall's Salem visit is available on the event's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/americanveteranstravelingtribute. Rockingham VNA & Hospice - We Care at Home Established in 1905, the Derry Visiting Nurse Association began as a small, community-based nonprofit organization to serve the needs of their patients at home. In 1990, Derry VNA merged with Exeter VNA and was renamed the Rockingham Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice. It has since grown to an agency with more than 130 employees whose "Our Care Teams" provide many adult home care, hospice, and community outreach programs throughout Rockingham County and the surrounding towns of Barrington, Lee and Durham NH. One of the key services at Rockingham VNA & Hospice is their Bereavement Support Program. The death of a loved one leaves behind feelings of loss which give way to deep pain. It is the goal of the Bereavement Support Program to help those who have experienced loss to understand and normalize their feelings of grief. Lee Maher, MS, Bereavement Support Coordinator, provides bereavement support in private residences, nursing homes, hospitals and workshops so that grief can be expressed in a healthy context. Lee is away until December 9th and Dick Munsey is filling in during her absence. In addition, Bereavement Support Groups are held for a six-week period at their 137 Epping Road location in Exeter and are offered free to anyone who wishes to attend. There are three support groups scheduled to begin in January. The Bereavement Support Groups provide an opportunity for those who are grieving the death of a loved one to meet in a safe, supportive environment to share with others who are also experiencing loss. Dick explained, "Our bereavement and spiritual services are available to our patients, those in hospice, and also to their family members. Once a patient dies, we remain in contact with the family for one full year. We follow up with correspondence, sending helpful literature about the various aspects of bereavement. We are available for individual support if necessary. In the spring each year, we hold a Celebration of Life Memorial Service for families who have lost loved ones during the year. About 300 people attend this service which provides an opportunity for families to reacquaint themselves with the staff members with whom they formed a relationship. It means a great deal to them to know that they have not been forgotten." The Rockingham VNA & Hospice is certified by Medicare, licensed by the State of NH, and is recognized as a We Honor Veterans Partner. To help provide care and support for the men and women who served our country, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, developed the We Honor Veterans campaign. As a partner of this pioneering program, Rockingham VNA & Hospice will implement ongoing Veteran-centered education for the staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to Veterans. Dr. Patrick Clary, VNA's Hospice Medical Director said, "About a quarter of the dying in our care are veterans. Common illnesses like heart disease and uncommon ones like ALS are now understood to be service connected in many cases, and we may discover more in the future." The We Honor Veterans partners can access resources and integrate best practices for providing end-of-life care to Veterans. The resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with special education of health care staff caring for Veterans. Frequently Asked Questions "What honors are available to veterans when they die? What benefits are available to veterans' spouses and their families?" Military honors are available to all veterans regardless of rank. The funeral service can include an active duty honor guard or one provided by a local volunteer veterans group. Arrangements can be made for a chaplain to speak, flag folding and presentation, rifle salute and the playing of TAPS. Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home can assist in making all the arrangements for these ceremonial activities. We also obtain a burial flag and bronze grave marker for our veterans. A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the US Armed Forces. It honors the memory of a veteran's military service to his or her country. A veteran may be entitled to burial allowances, which are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. The amount of the payment depends on whether the death was servicerelated. Your funeral director can help you determine eligibility and will assist in completing the appropriate government forms. Dependents of a veteran who died during wartime may be eligible for a death pension. Again, there are specific eligibility rules that your funeral director can help guide you through. Resources are also available through the Department of Veterans Affairs. In Methuen, contact the Veterans Services Officer at 978-983-8585 or visit the Department of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website. In 2010, Methuen City Council Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Pappalardo, along with City Councilor Philip Lahey, Jr. spearheaded an effort to create a Wall of Honor, dedicated to fallen service members. Located in the City Hall foyer, the Wall of Honor is where photographs of service members who have died in the line of duty are on display. If you would like to know more about the requirements, go to the Veterans Service Department web page where you can obtain an application. Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home is committed to helping veterans who come to us for their final tribute. It is our privilege to serve them and to add a mark of distinction to their funeral service. We do all that we can for the families to ensure that their veteran receives the honors and benefits he or she deserves. Our staff is fully trained to handle every detail of a veteran's funeral service. This includes answering questions about military protocol, assuring that legal requirements are met, and providing whatever equipment, facilities, and technical services that may be needed. We apply for all VA benefits, file for Veterans Life Insurance, and arrange all military honors. We are proud to pay tribute to those who served, and upon the family's request, we will ensure that the veteran receives dignified military funeral honors. About Us The Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home in Methuen, along with its two other locations in MA and one in Salem NH, offer over 100 years of combined experience in meeting your family's emotional, spiritual and financial needs. We are available to answer your questions and welcome your call at 978-687-1333 or visit us at www.dewhirstfuneral.com.
© Copyright 2018