Hospice East hosts early Veterans Day lunch

Published 11:30 am Monday, November 6, 2023

For Veterans Day, celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 11, the community of Winchester will be abuzz with activity.

However, some have already started to honor those who have served.

Hospice East, located at 407 Shoppers Drive, hosted a Veterans Lunch on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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“We offer it the week before Veterans Day because we know there’s a lot of other functions going on here in Clark County and in Powell County on Veterans Day,” said Debbie Jones, executive director of Hospice East. “We honor our veterans through the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization… It’s a great opportunity for us to give back.”

Many volunteers from the local community attended.

Included were Clark County Judge-Executive Les Yates, who served in the Air Force and spent time in Germany.

Although Judge Yates didn’t personally spend time in Vietnam, his service overlapped with those who did during the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s.

“I’ve always felt like I’ll do whatever I can to support the guys that went,” Yates said. “I think most people want to support, and I think more so probably today than any time in the history of this country [we need] peace through strength.”

Not only did individual veterans make the trek to Hospice East, but groups did as well.

Through the Lexington location of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), approximately 35 veterans showed up for the event.

They were treated to a meal consisting of a barbecue sandwich, coleslaw, baked beans, chips, cupcake, and their choice of Ale8, water, lemonade or coffee.

“Every year, the veterans love it. Some of them say it’s the best hospitality group that ever honors them,” Jones added. “We feel very blessed [about] that.”

Making up the strong hospitality was a team of volunteers, including Delores Stamper and Linda Crowe.

“It’s great that they can sit down and talk to you,” said Stamper, noting that previous events had been drive-thru only or forced to cancel due to COVID.

“We do so many things [at Hospice East] that I don’t really think people know [about],” said Crowe. “I think every volunteer would tell you [that] we get more out of it than we give.”

The event also featured the appearance and, in some cases, volunteerism of various members of the organization’s board of directors.

Among them were former Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham.

“I’ve been coming for several years even before I was on the board, and it’s just good to see [veterans] who [might] not go to other places,” said Branham.

In addition to the food served, veterans entering the facility were provided with a pin that states, “We Honor Veterans,” and a goodie bag featuring breakfast bars, chips, and candy bars.

Acknowledging that she has learned much of what veterans go through during her work, Jones adds that Hospice East shows no signs of slowing its efforts to help those who have served.

“If there’s something small we can do as an organization to give back and let them know [that] we’re here and we care, I think it’s a great opportunity,” she said.