Army veteran honored at Lakeside Village
The dream began when Army veteran Dorothy Parker told her friends at Kindred Hospice that she wanted to visit the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge. From there, staff at Kindred Hospice and the Lakeside Village in Panora developed an idea to make Parker’s wish come true by bringing the museum to her as part of “Dare to Dream,” a Senior Housing Companies program that encourages staff members to listen to the stories that seniors tell and help make their dreams come true.
On Thursday, March 29, over 30 staff members, residents, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members and American Legion members gathered in the private dining hall at the Lakeside Village to honor Parker’s service with a flag folding ceremony, a pinning ceremony and a virtual tour of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge.
When the weather warms up, Lakeside Village Manager Amanda Creen hopes to take residents to see the museum in person.
“We’re all here to honor you today, Dorothy,” Creen told Parker at the ceremony. “We’re so grateful for your service, and we’re so proud to have you as a part of our family here at Lakeside Village.”
Following Creen’s introduction, Kristi Schroeder, Area Director of Sales for Kindred Healthcare, explained a program at Kindred Hospice called “We Honor Veterans.”
“Many of our patients are veterans, but above and beyond that, many of our community members, family members and friends have served,” Schroeder explained. “That gives us the freedoms that we have every day, so part of what we do is thank all of our veterans.”
Kindred Hospice Chaplain Kelly Gafkjen began the ceremony with a prayer. Local VFW and American Legion members held a flag folding ceremony, and Kindred Hospice Case Manager Sgt. Jessica Soderblom conducted the veteran pinning ceremony.
Then, Mike Vogt, curator at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, gave a virtual tour of the exhibits, which included memorabilia from all branches of service. The museum’s mission is to “honor and depict the military experience of Iowa citizens in all wars, homeland defense and Iowa service.”
“It sounds like Dorothy was inducted into the Army at Fort Des Moines,” said Vogt. “Fort Des Moines was the very first place that female soldiers were accepted into the United States Army.”
Vogt also brought some female uniforms from World War II. Parker, who was in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII, acknowledged that she recognized the uniforms.
“We’re so proud of her service,” said Creen. “We just really appreciate the veterans in our building coming and showing support for Dorothy.”