LONGVIEW REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER reserves best for veterans

by Joycelyne Fadojutimi

Longview Regional Medical Center (LRMC) has begun a program to show support, honor and appreciation for those serving in the armed forces. The initiative concentrates not just on caring but recognizing the contributions of vets who are admitted or be it their final days at this hospital. The overall message is, “Where would we be without them?” LRMC Emergency Room Director Brian Hopkins reports a former Navy SEAL passed away in Round Rock Hospital. His son inquired if that facility specifically honored Vets, and the answer was no. This precipitated a change in Round Rock hospital. Hopkins shared this idea with LRMC Chief Executive Officer Casey Robertson.
“He jumped at the idea without wasting time,” said Hopkins.
Starting with Veterans’ Day 2018, LRMC will ceremoniously recognize military veterans who are admitted to their hospital. With the veteran’s permission, a United States flag and their military branch will be placed at their door. If they pass away in the hospital, they will receive full honors called The Final Salute.
“Military veterans deserve the expression of our deepest gratitude,” said Robertson. “This ceremony, marking a veteran’s final passage through life, is a salute not just to the family, but to all of us who respect and honor those who have served our country.”
With the death of every veteran, LRMC will provide an Honor Guard who will drape the casket with an American flag. With the family’s consent the Guard will then escort the deceased soldier and his or her loved ones on a silent procession through the hospital and out the front entrance. An overhead announcement will precede The Salute. Taps will play through the PA system during the passage through the hospital. Employees, patients, visitors and (especially) veterans will line up in the lobby in recognition of the late hero. The first such veteran appreciation event featured the dedication of a new Veterans’ Memorial Garden at LRMC’s front entrance, and the opening of parking spaces reserved for veteran only.
“This is a small gesture of respect and appreciation from Longview Regional Medical Center to those who came to us seeking care,” said Robertson. “Our veterans have demonstrated commitment to the values of our nation–peace, liberty and justice for all. We are privileged and honored to give them, a Final Salute.”
Cold, windy weather did not discourage a throng of hospital staff, veterans and their families from turning out for the first Final Salute announcement and Veteran’s Day celebration.