Each year St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne provides an occasion to honour war veterans and widows who are in-patients at the time of ANZAC Day. This year Trustees David Alcock and Gabrielle McMullen were invited to join Private Hospital Regional CEO Ian Grisold and Mission Integration Manager Julie Wain on the eve of ANZAC Day to meet with these patients.
Five patients were visited, four veterans and widow of a veteran – in four cases service had been during World War II and in one instance during the Vietnam War. They all welcomed the recognition of the veterans’ service to their country and told of their experiences and losing loved ones and mates with some sadness. The Vietnam veteran was particularly moved that his service was being recognised.
Each of these patients was given a small showbag and a wooden cross made by a Christian refugee from Palestine. The morning was a very moving occasion for each of us and a fine example of the compassionate care offered by the St Vincent’s Health Australia hospitals.
As Julie subsequently wrote in her monthly report:
“These visits are always a powerful reminder of the impact that war wreaks upon people, upon families, upon communities, and indeed the nation. Our mission implores us to care for the poor and vulnerable and, at this time of year, vulnerability is very real amongst our veterans, both young and old”.