Veterans Continue Service as Capital Caring volunteers
For Karita Knisely, service is part and parcel with her life. Now volunteer coordinator for Capital Caring’s Merrifield neighborhood, Knisely once served as a U.S. Park Ranger. “From my days as a park ranger, and now with my work at Capital Caring, I know how important our volunteers are to realizing our vision of world-class care for our patients and their families,” Knisely said. “Through our ‘We Honor Veterans’ program, I partner veteran volunteers with veteran patients. The time they spend together is very special because of their shared experiences.”
One such veteran is retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Gary Waitschies. A Springfield, Virginia resident, Waitschies has volunteered with Capital Caring since 2009 as a patient care volunteer. Waitschies presents pins and certificates to veterans who are Capital Caring patients as part of the ‘We Honor Veterans’ program. “I really enjoy volunteering and especially conducting the pinning ceremonies. From one veteran to another, to pay tribute to the service rendered by the patient is really remarkable. I always notice the incredible sense of pride in each family member as their loved one is being honored,” said Waitschies.
Nearly 800 trained volunteers across Capital Caring’s eight neighborhoods in northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Prince Georges County, Maryland provide direct patient and support care to individuals living with advanced illness and their families. “Our compassionate professionals will help veterans navigate their V.A. benefits, spouse benefits, burial rights, and more,” said Malene S. Davis, Capital Caring’s President and Chief Executive. “Our ‘We Honor Veterans’ program is representative of our commitment to care for those who have served our country.”
For nearly four decades, Capital Caring has provided care to those living with advanced illness. A 24/7 coordinated, compassionate care approach is available to families regardless of ability to pay. “Aspects of our care, such as our Point of Hope Counseling program, are designed to support the patient and also their family,” said Knisely. “Many of our volunteers have remained part of the Capital Caring family because of the care someone they knew received. It is a great way to serve others.” Davis pointed to an event Capital Caring hosted on Memorial Day in honor of a veteran in our care. “We honored a 100-year-old veteran from Arlington for his military service. He had lived in the same house for 99 years. We treat the veterans in our care as the heroes they are,” she remarked.
Capital Caring and the American Veterans Center launched a partnership last Fall 2014. Together, the two 501c3 organizations will guard the legacy and honor the service of those veterans who entrust their care to the compassionate professionals at Capital Caring. To find out more about Capital Caring, or to make a referral, call us anytime at 1-800-869-2136 or visit us on the web at www.capitalcaring.org