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Nonprofit organization honors legacy of WWII veterans

<i>WYFF</i><br/>A national nonprofit based in the Upstate is preserving the legacy of World War II veterans in hospice care. Veteran's Last Patrol serves veterans in hospice care by connecting them with veteran volunteers who provide friendship during end-of-life care.
WYFF
A national nonprofit based in the Upstate is preserving the legacy of World War II veterans in hospice care. Veteran's Last Patrol serves veterans in hospice care by connecting them with veteran volunteers who provide friendship during end-of-life care.

By Sydney Shadrix

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    SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (WYFF) — A national nonprofit based in the Upstate is preserving the legacy of World War II veterans in hospice care.

Veteran’s Last Patrol serves veterans in hospice care by connecting them with veteran volunteers who provide friendship during end-of-life care.

“Sadly, and one of the reasons that we do what we do, is a lot of veterans have no family or very little family when they get to that age,” said Claude Schmid, Army veteran and founder of Veteran’s Last Patrol.

Schmid says, about a year ago, one of the organization’s supporters — the son of a WWII veteran — had an idea to honor the legacy of people like his father through shadow boxes.

“We try to get copies of records that they may have — maybe discharge papers, maybe military documents that would identify what units they served in and what time frame they served. We also try to get a picture of them in uniform,” said Schmid.

Schmid says that, for veterans in hospice care who still have family present, the shadow boxes are a way for the family to learn more about the veteran’s time serving our country. For those who do not, it is a way to show them that their service does not go unnoticed.

“It’s a way to honor these veterans one more time. They served their country during a particularly hard period of time,” said Schmid. “Many of them were away for years-or more- from their family with very little communication back home oftentimes. And they did something very important that protected our freedoms from two great adversaries.”

Volunteers at Veteran’s Last Patrol do all of the research for the shadow boxes and put them together free of charge for the veterans and their families. Once they are completed, the shadow boxes are presented to the veteran in a small ceremony.

“I think you’ll see that in the pictures, how astonished many times people are by what these cases look like and what it represents for this person’s life,” said Schmid.

Right now, Veteran’s Last Patrol is making shadow boxes for WWII veterans in hospice care, but they provide services to all veterans in hospice care, no matter when they served.

“We believe in service to our nation, whether it’s through the military or through other forms of service. And by recognizing those that have served-even late in life like this- in a special way, we think it sends signal to them — of course, of gratitude — their families, that we appreciate their own sacrifices, and the broader community that it is something we value, and that we should all value, because they keep our freedom,’ said Schmid.

Schmid says Veteran’s Last Patrol needs volunteers. They welcome veterans and non-veterans.

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