For the media

Volunteers honor veteran with a special gift

By The Health News Team | August 3, 2023
Nelson Moore and Lorraine Glass of San Diego at Sharp HospiceCare

Nelson Moore and Lorraine Glass pose with a shadowbox created in honor of Lorraine’s husband, Chuck Glass.

Like many of the people Sharp hospitals serve in San Diego County, Chuck and Lorraine Glass were a military family. The two met in 1975 at a country-western bar — Chuck was stationed in San Diego with the U.S. Marines, and Lorraine was from Los Angeles. Sparks flew and two years later, they married and had a beautiful daughter.

Chuck and Lorraine’s life was centered on the military. But military life meant Chuck was occasionally away from Lorraine for overseas duty. However, San Diego was always their home base. When Chuck wasn’t overseas, he would commute from San Diego to the northern point of Camp Pendleton for work.

“He made this long commute so that I could keep my job in San Diego and stay close to loved ones in town,” says Lorraine. “That was just who he was.”

When Chuck’s health began to drastically decline many years later, Lorraine knew it was her time to answer the “call of duty” to care for her husband.

Honoring vows made long ago

In 2019, Lorraine left her job in retail to be Chuck’s full-time caregiver. A series of trips and falls, cognitive decline, and loss of the ability to speak rendered Chuck vulnerable and unable to live independently. Doctors believed the decline was linked to a stroke Chuck had in 1989, when he was just 38. Over time, the effects of the stroke had damaged his brain.

“Chuck was no longer able to communicate verbally,” says Lorraine. “But there would be times when he would smile at me. His way of communicating with me was his smile. That was him letting me know that he still knew me.”

A few years later, Chuck was admitted to Sharp Grossmont Hospital for complications related to his disease. After careful and thoughtful conversations between providers and family, Lorraine decided that comfort care — physical, social and spiritual support for patients and their families with a focus on keeping patients as comfortable as possible — would be best for her husband.

Chuck entered Sharp HospiceCare’s ParkView Hospice Home. There, during a visit with Gil Harrison, one of the veterans who volunteered at the hospice home, Lorraine shared poignant life stories about her husband’s military career and his many accomplishments.

She explained that Chuck was a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruitment Depot. He was an expert small-arms marksman and became so proficient that he won the Small Arms Marksman Championship seven times during his career — a feat few Marines achieved.

Veterans serving in a special way

For Gil and Nelson Moore, another veteran volunteer, they too had a call of duty: honor Chuck with a We Honor Veterans pinning ceremony. The We Honor Veterans Program provides hospice staff and volunteers with training, education and resources to help improve care for veterans and recognize the important contributions they have made through their military service. Following the ceremony, during which Chuck received a certificate, small American flag, branch flag and pin, Nelson sat at Chuck’s bedside and listened to Lorraine tearfully share the story of their life together.

Nelson was so touched by their love, history and sacrifices made, that he offered to make a shadowbox highlighting Chuck’s military career. Lorraine provided Nelson with a copy of Chuck’s military discharge papers, which included a record of his honorable service.

Nelson got to work. He was able get Chuck’s missing and lost medals, patches and rank insignia. Lorraine also provided old photos, including their military wedding photo.

"I was honored to serve the family through hospice,” says Nelson. “Creating the shadowbox for our patient with his medals and awards was so gratifying. I am grateful to the family for allowing hospice volunteer veterans to be part of the patient's legacy."

Chuck passed away peacefully at the ParkView Hospice Home in May. Several days after his passing, Nelson presented the beautiful shadowbox to Lorraine.

“I was in tears seeing the finished box,” says Lorraine. “Everyone really went above and beyond for our family.”

The shadowbox held a place of honor at Chuck’s memorial service, as it spoke to his love of country. Later, Lorraine sent Nelson a note that read, “Thank you for everything. This means the world to me and my family.”

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