We are pleased to introduce a new series in our e-newsletter, “Meet the Board,” highlighting members of the new Joshua’s House Volunteer Hospice Board of Directors. This ongoing series will give you the opportunity to get to know the incredible mix of talented community leaders who make up our new Board.

For our first installation of the series, we spoke to Board member Randele (Randy) Kanouse, who also serves as the volunteer coordinator of “We Honor Veterans” at the UC Davis Hospice Program and the “We Honor Veterans” program at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s Hospice of the Central Coast.

Randy has been a UC Davis Hospice Program volunteer for more than 10 years and he will manage our program to honor our hospice patients who are veterans.

“I’ve performed ceremonies honoring approximately 160 patients who served in the armed forces during these past 10 years at UC Davis,” he shared.

Randy explained that the patients are encouraged to tell him whatever they are comfortable talking about from their years of their military service.

“We share stories and spend whatever time it takes to create a friendship, a bond,” he said. “Then, I take my notes from our conversation, and I often do a little internet research to learn more about where they served and what they did.”

He will follow this model with residents of Joshua’s House and work with staff to select a day and time to conduct a small ceremony to honor the selected veteran and thank them for their service. If the resident has any family member or any one they want to invite to the ceremony, a volunteer will help to do that. Staff and volunteers will attend the ceremony.

“It’s such an indescribable joy to observe and experience men and women who are so very close to their death be able to experience a quite spectacular day when they can listen to me laud their accomplishments while in the military service,” Randy said. “They often join in by telling stories and laughing as they reminisce about the days of their youth. As a veteran myself, I feel that I can create a bond with other veterans more easily, at times.”

Conducting these ceremonies may be more challenging for our homeless patients, he added.

“I look forward to offering this program to the homeless veterans at Joshua’s House. Homeless men and women deserve to be recognized for the sacrifices and hardships they, too, endured when they served in our Armed Services.”