On July 29, local care center Community Home Health and Hospice admitted and honored its 1,000th veteran, Donald Fuesler. Fuesler was an influential member of the Cowlitz County Community and died on July 31 after two days of care at Community Home Health and Hospice.
Fuesler served in the Army during World War II. His acts of bravery included landing on Normandy and liberating prisoners from Nazi-occupied France. Fuesler was awarded the Legion of Honour for his service in the war, the highest French merit for military and civil service.
After the war, Fuesler settled in Longview where he would spend over 40 years as a general practitioner. Beyond his practice, Fuesler was involved locally as a friend to many and as a philanthropist. Last year the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington presented him with its Lifetime Giving Award.
“You guys were amazing — the care you showed,” his daughter Margretchen Fuesler said in a news release about the time her father spent under Community’s care. “The chaplain (Brian Wiele) was amazing. I can’t thank him enough for everything he did for me. He even called me that night after dad went. Everyone was so nice.”
According to the news release, one in every four dying Americans is a veteran. Since 2014, Community Home Health and Hospice has presented each veteran it admits into its hospice center with a certificate of appreciation which acknowledges the military branch in which they served. The center’s efforts to honor veterans is part of We Honor Veterans (WHV), a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. WHV meets the unique needs of dying veterans and their families by guiding them to a peaceful ending.
“We’re honored to have the opportunity to recognize these American heroes at the end of their lives,” President and CEO of Community Home Health and Hospice Greg Pang said. “Being able to provide peace of mind to the men and women who sacrificed to serve and protect our country is a privilege for everyone at Community.”
In 2019, Community Home Health and Hospice spent just over $900,000 for unreimbursed charity care and community benefit services. Along with veteran recognition, these services support respite care for hospice patients, help young children grieve the loss of a parent, offer pet care assistance and more. Donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations assist the nonprofit in making these services available.
“The incredible support of our donors allows us to guarantee any veteran in our community requiring our service will have access to it,” Pang said. “We thank every donor who’s playing a role in providing critical services to those who served us first.”
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