Crossroads Hospice offers 'Vet to Vet' program to connect those in hospice with active duty military

GLADSTONE, Mo. - Gene Berry of Gladstone, Mo., is a retired Private First Class Army soldier who is a patient with Crossroads Hospice. Every Wednesday, Major Cedric Burden with Mission Command Training at Fort Leavenworth, goes to Berry's home for a visit.

Berry's story is also being recorded by a student nurse at Park University and will be put into a book.  Crossroads Hospice is hoping to connect more veterans in hospice with active duty or retired veterans.

Berry said he enjoys visiting with Major Burden because it brings back old memories.

"Some memories are good; but some are sad; but that's just how it is," Berry said.

"I think visiting with Major helps me get an understanding of how things have changed in the military. I remember when I was serving in Korea in 1950, the military was being integrated.  I never saw an African American Major," Berry explained.

"I want to pass-on to Major and others who may read my story that times have changed and there are so many more opportunities now that I want people to take advantage of those opportunities and make things happen in their lives," added Berry.

Major Burden said his weekly visits with Berry are a joy.

"I have fun," he said. "He's interesting and his stories help me understand how things were. It's a privilege and an honor anytime I can talk with someone who fought in a war like the Korean War or any other war."

Crossroads Hospice Executive Director Janet Hessenflow, RN said the program is a great morale lifter for the veterans served by Crossroads Hospice.

"Some of our veterans have not shared their stories for many years and the vet to vet program gives them a chance to share those stories with other members of the military who will understand," she said. "We're also excited about our Life Journal Program because it gives the Park University students a chance to connect on a deeper level with patients by understanding that patient's history."

If you would like to be part of the Vet to Vet program or learn more about the Life Journal program you can visit the Crossroads hospice website at http://www.crossroadshospice.com/

Crossroads Hospice has 11 sites across the country including four here in the greater Kansas City metro area.

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