Virtual Café Will Connect the Community’s Veterans for Conversation

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Memorial Day is just around the corner, a day set aside to remember and honor the service men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to the country. The extended holiday weekend also heralds the unofficial start of summer for many. The observance can also trigger a wave of emotions for many veterans. Remembering fallen military comrades can elicit painful memories, feelings of grief and loss, and in some cases, a heavy burden of survivor’s guilt.

Hospice of the Western Reserve will host a free Virtual Veterans’ Café on Thursday, May 27 at 3 p.m. to provide the community’s veterans with a forum to connect with each other on the web to express the memories and emotions they experience on Memorial Day. Veterans will be able to join in the conversation via their cell phones, iPads, laptops or Smart TVs. Veterans of all eras and all  branches of service are welcome to participate; no connection to hospice is necessary.

The café will be moderated by Vanessa Smylie, Western Reserve Grief Services bereavement coordinator. The spontaneous, unstructured format will encourage participants to talk about whatever is on their minds. Potential topics may include situations they encounter that trigger difficult memories, meaningful ways they will remember and honor those with whom they served and strategies to help cope with grief.  

“It will be easy to participate,” said Nate Gradisher, provider relations manager, who chairs the agency’s Peaceful and Proud Veterans Committee. “We’ll use a video conferencing tool similar to Zoom that allows everyone to see or hear the other participants. We will email veterans who register a link, and on May 27 at 3 p.m., they will simply click on that link to enter the conversation. To register for the virtual café, email Gradisher at  ngradisher@hospicewr.org.
 

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More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.