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Volunteers visit fellow veterans in final days for one last show of appreciation for their service

We Honor Veterans visits veterans in the final stages of hospice. Volunteers present the veteran with a certificate, pin, handmade quilt and a salute in their honor.

TOLEDO, Ohio — For over a decade, volunteers have sought out veterans at Hospice of Northwest Ohio from all branches of service.

The volunteers make the rounds, visiting veterans near the end of life, to make sure they know how much their service is appreciated.

Some volunteers, like Cathy Helton, meet to crochet or sew red, white and blue flags or blankets. All of the material is donated and each quilt is given to a veteran. She's been with the program for seven years.

"When you see the families touched by the fact that no quilt is the same, and that you try to make them unique to the person, it just makes a difference," Helton said. 

Ray Schlagheck has been doing the visits for 12 years. "What a way to give back for their service to our country for what they did," he said.

Schlagheck is an Air Force veteran himself. He visits three to four veterans in hospice care a week in Perrysburg and Toledo.

He sits with the veteran, exchanges stories about military life, and does a brief ceremony presenting them with a pin and certificate. He then wraps up the visit with a formal salute.

WTOL 11 joined Schlagheck for one of the visits on Tuesday. It was with Helton's husband, Steve. He's a veteran with stage 4 cancer. 

Schlagheck presented him with an American flag pin with "veteran" across the bottom, donated by the Veteran Services Commission and Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

"I proudly salute you for your service in the United States Air Force," Schlagheck said, with a salute, from one veteran to another.


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