Compass Regional Hospice Staff to Provide Counseling at Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

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Compass Regional Hospice’s Grief and Support Services staff have been invited to be present during the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall’s stay in Easton, which will take place from Thursday, May 31, to Wednesday, June 6.

Compass Regional Hospice’s trained grief counselors, as well as a social worker and a chaplain, will be on hand to provide counseling services to those who seek them, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.Monday, June 4, through Wednesday, June 6.

Grief Services staff will include Rhonda Knotts, grief counselor and supervisor of Grief Services with Compass Regional Hospice, who is certified in level-two advanced trauma treatment through The Ferentz Institute; Wayne Larrimore, a grief counselor with Compass Regional Hospice, who served with the U.S. Air Force for 21 years; Ann OConnor, a grief counselor with Compass Regional Hospice; social worker Sharon Loving; and Compass chaplain Nancy Greenwell.

From left, clockwise: Rhonda Knotts, grief counselor and supervisor of Grief Services; Linda Turner, grief counselor; Wayne Larrimore, grief counselor and Air Force veteran; and Ann OConnor, grief counselor.

“Ultimately, what our counselors can offer, is a compassionate ear,” Knotts said. “We are definitely not there to think that we can fix anything or to erase what has already been seen and felt, but just to be a source of comfort while you visit, remember, and in many instances, take a trip back. We’re going in because we owe it to our veterans for what they have done for us— to be there and walk with them when they need us to.”

Jackie Davis, executive director of the Mental Health Association of the Eastern Shore, said the planning committee bringing the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall to Easton is anticipating thousands of visitors. She said because of the strong and often still raw emotional reactions the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., can evoke, she knew there might be times where visitors to the traveling wall may need someone to talk with. She said the most important criteria was that those people be trained to provide that listening ear. The MHAMDES is coordinating the efforts to bring that trained staff to the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall during its visit in Easton.

“It adds another level of support,” Davis said. “I just want to emphasize how thankful we are to Compass Regional Hospice, whose staff are taking up almost half of the hours (of the counseling needs). We didn’t know what to expect (when planning the event), but we’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.”

Social worker Sharon Loving, and Compass Regional Hospice chaplain Nancy Greenwell.

Davis said Compass Regional Hospice is one of the only Mid-Shore nonprofit agencies to provide trained grief counseling services during the event. Other agencies providing counseling services include the Salisbury Outstation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will be providing its mobile crisis van that includes counseling rooms, a full-time counselor and several support staff, which will be available 24/7; Eastern Shore Mobile Crisis Services, which will provide overnight on-call services; Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps; and several trained individual counselors who have volunteered their time.

According to a news release from E.E. Streets Memorial Post 5118, the mission of the Vietnam Traveling Wall is to honor United States service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War, by bringing a 3/5 replica of the original monument in Washington, D.C., to VFW Post 5118, 355 Glebe Road, Easton.

“This is so that the family and friends of those memorialized on the Wall, along with everyone on the Eastern Shore, can experience the overwhelming impact of this memorial,” the news release stated. “The event is a solemn presentation of the Vietnam Wall Memorial, and as such will have an air of reverence, honor, and respect.”

Counselors from all agencies involved will be present in shifts, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 1 through 5.

The Wall will be open 24-hours a day, daily, during its time in Easton. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall stands as a reminder of the more than nine million military personnel who served on active duty during the Vietnam Era, the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice— those who lost their lives serving the United States during the war.

There are 58,315 names on the Wall. Of those names, 208 listed their hometowns as being on the Delmarva Peninsula. Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today.

Throughout the Wall’s stay in Easton, volunteers will read the 58, 315 names aloud. The wall will be escorted into Easton via motorcycle motorcade on May 31. Opening ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m. June 1. A schedule of events can be found on Facebook at “Vietnam Traveling Wall Easton Maryland.” During the Wall’s time in Easton, each Mid-Shore county will be represented during special recognition ceremonies to honor those service men and women who lost their lives.

For more information about grief services provided by Compass Regional Hospice, call 443-262-4100. For more information about counseling services provided at the Wall, call Jackie Davis at the Mental Health Association of the Eastern Shore at 410-822-0444 or email her at jdavis@mhamdes.org.

For more information about the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall’s stay in Easton, contact VFW 5118 board members Kenley Timms at kenleyt@goeaston.net, Royce Ball at royceball@mac.com or Gene Feher at genejfeher@gmail.com.

Compass Regional Hospice – Care on your terms

Compass Regional Hospice is a fully licensed, independent, community-based nonprofit organization certified by Medicare and the state of Maryland and accredited by the Joint Commission. Since 1985, Compass Regional Hospice has been dedicated to supporting people of all ages through the challenge of living with a life-limiting illness and learning to live following the death of a loved one. Today, the organization is a regional provider of hospice care and grief support in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. “Care on your terms” is the promise that guides staff and volunteers as they care for patients in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the residential hospice centers in Centreville, Chestertown and Denton. Grief support services are offered to children, adults and families of patients who died under hospice care, as well as members of the community who are grieving the loss of a loved one, through The Hope and Healing Center. For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, visit compassregionalhospice.org.

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