November 11th is a highly significant day on the American calendar, as honor, praise, and thanks are abundantly offered to the Veterans across the nation and across generations. Westview Health Care Center holds great regard for all who serve and have served, and specifically, holds an event each year to bring recognition to the patients and residents who live at the skilled nursing facility. The tribute extends even further throughout the organization, as many staff members, volunteers, and relatives of Westview associates receive praise for their military service. As with all events at Westview, Therapeutic Recreation Director Louise Taylor along with Assistant Therapeutic Recreation Director Vicki Ericson and their dispatch of volunteers put a highly commendable, passionate effort into the coordination of Veteran’s Day at the Dayville facility.
Westview’s tribute to the troops is composed of many significant and emotionally diverse moments. Pomp and circumstance are provided by the distinguished procession and presentation of colors by members of the Albert J. Breault Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1523 and members of their Ladies Auxiliary. Once they are assembled in the formal dining room space, Post 1523’s Chaplain Gerry Salvas offers a prayer to open the ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance is then recited by all, and in one of the most profound displays of unending patriotism, many of the residents rise from their wheelchairs to salute and honor the American flag.
Next, Val Rogers (a supremely engaging, talented, and former United Service Organization performer) guides those in attendance through a rousing group rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. This continues the celebratory spirit and energizes the next moment as fellow Post 1523 member and former Connecticut State Representative Danny Rovero travels the room to present each of Westview’s veterans with a grateful handshake, a proud salute, and an American flag. All the while, Post 1523’s color guard consisting of Chaplain Salvas, James Mahoney, and Charles “Chuck” Mahoney stand at attention, flourishing with flags and rifles. The Ladies Auxiliary Unit—comprised of Lisa Salisbury, Jahala Beaupre, Aldea Boucher, Lorraine Lacroix, and Theresa Villareal—additionally distinguishes the veterans by giving each a poppy flower lapel pin and a handwritten thank you note.
The tone of this tribute advances towards a few solemn moments as Jahala Beaupre reads an original poem conveying deep gratitude and respect for those who protect this great nation. Next, Val returns to the podium to share her thanks for servicemen and servicewomen; reflecting on her career traveling the world to bring entertainment to soldiers stationed abroad. She ushers in a long moment of silence at the conclusion of her speech, and this pause is punctuated by the always-sobering bugle call known as “Taps.” Michael Palladino—a member of Westview’s dietary staff—plays this tune with great care for the assembly. A benediction is read, and the battery of the Putnam VFW Post march out with the same prestige that they entered with; bookending the ceremonial portion of the event.
This dignified tribute lingers in the air for a moment and reflects a positive light all over the room. USO Val and Bil Groth (her deftly-handed piano accompanist from Valerie Rogers Entertainment) reignite the excitement with a sing-a-long session straight out of the American songbook. Renditions of each service branch anthem are patriotically belted out by all—Val’s pre-printed lyric sheets proving extremely useful—followed by the harmonization of classics such as “God Bless America,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and “America the Beautiful” by the spirited chorus. As the fanfare grows, so grows the crowd of staff and interested onlookers outside Westview’s formal dining room. Prominently on display: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Therapeutic Recreation Director Louise Taylor holds an event like this every year. Words from her moments at the podium indicate her reverent respect for elder and younger veterans; her actions proving to multiply that appreciation tenfold. As she states:
“Our annual Veteran’s Day program is dearest to my heart. My father was an Army Air Corpsman during the European conflict in WWII. In his adult years he was very active in the Naval Sea Cadet program. Growing up, our home was home to many service personnel, and as a family we took part in countless military programs to honor the service men and women of our country. As my father instilled in me, it is important to thank our Veterans for their service, duty, and dedication to our country. It is with immense gratitude that I stand, with my father in my heart, to thank those brave men and women connected to Westview Health Care Center throughout the generations.”
Westview Health Care Center is a 103-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, which includes a distinct and self-contained 28-bed sub acute short term rehabilitation unit and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapies including: Sports Medicine, Adolescent/Pediatric, Adult, and Aquatic Outpatient Centers, all dedicated to providing outstanding quality health care services. The Dayville, Connecticut facility is consistently ranked among the top nursing facilities in the nation, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as U.S. News and World Report, for the past 12 consecutive years.
If you or your loved one would like more information or to take a tour of the facility, we invite you to a closer look at Westview Health Care Center.
Please contact our Resident Services office at 860-774-8574