Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Memorial Service Remembers, Honors 24 Veterans
On Jan. 24, the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System Chaplain Service held their bi-annual Memorial Service to remember 24 Veteran patients who passed away during the past six months.
Friends and family members were invited to attend the service at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center, and encouraged to bring a photo of their loved one.
Each service includes a brief message from VA leadership, religious readings and address from VA Chaplains, a moment of silence and playing of taps, and a special bell ringing ceremony which includes the reading of the names of Veterans who passed away.
At the conclusion of each ceremony, VA leadership hand out flags to friends and family members in honor of their loved one.
Janelle Greenwood attended the memorial service to honor her husband Gwinn who passed away on Dec. 2 at the age of 54. Gwinn served in the Army from 1984-1988 as both a Ranger and an Airborne paratrooper.
Janelle said that when Gwinn visited VA facilities for his care, he proudly wore his Army caps, especially his Army Ranger cap.
“He was really surprised the very first time he wore a Ranger Cap (to a VA facility) and someone came up and shook his hand, and said thank you for his service,” she said. “He was always proud of serving the country.”
Janelle, who serves Veterans as a VA nurse at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa, said Gwinn was also proud to be married to a VA nurse.
“I was married to Gwinn for about 16 and a half years,” said Janelle. “All throughout the years, he was proud that I was a VA nurse. He was proud to be served (at VA).”
Grief and Widow Support Groups
VA Chaplain Ed George, who delivered the featured message during the service on Jan. 24, said the Memorial Service is not only an opportunity to honor our Veterans, but to also offer the families and friends of Veterans ongoing support.
“Grief and recovering from the loss of a loved one is a long-term process,” said George. “People experience a lot of emotions and they’re not sure what to do with those emotions. So what I try to do during my message is to name and normalize those emotions, and educate them about our support groups.”
The Chaplain Service holds a Widow to Widow Support Group on the third Monday of the month at the Tulsa VA Outpatient Clinic in the Boomer Room. Additionally, the Chaplain Service holds a Grief Support Group for recent widows each Friday at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center at 10:30 a.m. in the Radiology Conference Room.
To learn more about these groups or to register, please contact the Chaplain Service at 918-577-3861.