Thanking our veterans
94-year-old Robert Hill has a mix of emotions and memories this Veterans Day. He’s been a veteran most his life, having enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18 right after graduation. He left his home in Vancouver and served in the South Pacific during World II. “There was a war going on, we did what we had to do,” he said.
He’ll spend this Veterans Day at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center where he’s currently a patient. The nurses have hung a small American flag just outside his door. They do that for all veterans who are patients at the hospital. It’s a program initiated by Legacy Salmon Creek employees this past year by employees who are also veterans. “We want to show them our respect and appreciation for their service,” said George Pobi, a Marine veteran and lead clinical engineering technician. Pobi and hospital chaplain Gwen Morgan made rounds to all the veterans who are patients at Salmon Creek. They presented a certificate of appreciation to each patient.
Veteran Bill Gilbert says it brightened his day. The 77-year-old Vancouver man flew combat missions in the Vietnam War in the early 1960s. “I lost a couple of good buddies. I guess I was too ornery… There were a few close calls but I got to come home.”
Both Hill and Gilbert returned to civilian life, got married, built good careers, raised children and by their own accounts have lived good long lives. They rarely look back and reflect on the war or their service. They’ll tell their story but only when asked. They do however appreciate the acknowledgement of their service so long ago. They appreciate knowing a small American flag hangs outside their room at Legacy Salmon Creek.
For more information about this story, contact Kelly Love.