Shepherd’s Cove Hospice patient Jeff Dunfield and his wife, Amy, took the trip of a lifetime this year, thanks to SCH and the national Honor Flight Network organization.
Jeff had wanted to visit the memorials and military attractions in Washington D.C. for years, but time and resources always prohibited it. After he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer in April, he didn’t know if his dream would ever come true.
As a volunteer with Shepherd’s Cove, Jeff decided quickly after diagnosis to seek care from SCH, as well. Shortly after admission, social worker Lyn Stone learned about Jeff’s traveling desires and contacted the Honor Flight organization to make Jeff’s dream a reality.
In July, Jeff and Amy went on the Honor Flight trip with a group of other veterans and caretakers. They were whisked through the streets of Washington D.C. to visit the city’s World War II, Korean, and other memorials. Led by a police escort, the veterans were treated like royalty as they visited sites like the National Museum of the United State Navy, Arlington Cemetery, and the United States Marine Corps Memorial (also known as the Iwo Jima memorial).
Jeff, a Vietnam veteran, was especially moved by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, where he recognized the names of many friends he served alongside in combat.
More than anything, though, Jeff and Amy were especially impressed by the appreciation and respect shown to them throughout the trip. From young children coming to shake Jeff’s hand and thank him for his service to workers at each venue holding doors open, saluting them, and clapping for them upon arrival, Jeff and Amy were both touched by many expressions of gratitude.
“They made you feel like you were the first one they had ever done this for,” Amy said. “and they made it all happen so painlessly. It’s something you could never do on your own and enjoy it.”
Jeff said the trip reminded him of the good that came from his military service.
“It’s like they haven’t forgotten,” he said. “They really treat the veterans with utmost respect. It kind of gives me the reason of why I did it.
“It’s something I will always remember and cherish, and to be able to do with (Amy) was extra special.”