Gifted Wishes: A surprise honor for local veteran

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - All this week, we are profiling a compassionate program offered to patients in the care of Unity Hospice.

It’s called Gifted Wishes, one final opportunity for the patient to receive something special, create a memory with their family, and make them smile.

Today, it’s a local veteran who received an unexpected honor.

Two members of Denmark VFW Post 6705 have come to the Allouez home of veteran Ron Foxworthy.

“We are here today to honor your service to the United States of America,” says Richard Verheyen, VFW Post 6705 Commander.

Because of the pandemic, this special, surprise tribute to Ron takes place outside his window, over the phone and begins with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Next is the Airman’s Creed.

Ron served in the Air Force, as a radioman on a B29.

He then receives a pin, designed specifically for veterans under the care of Unity Hospice.

“When you see this pin, know that your service to the nation is deeply appreciated, we all thank you for your service,” says Verheyen.

“Here’s the pin Ron, I’m going to stick it on your hat ok, and we thank you for your service and greatly appreciate it,” says Unity Social Worker Jane Bain as she puts the pin on Ron’s hat.

The ceremony concludes with a salute of respect and honor, leaving Ron deeply touched, and his family, eternally grateful.

“On this journey he’s been on it’s definitely a bright light and you could tell how proud he is and was of his time there and like to relive it and talk about it, and it was really just an honor to be part of it all. When Jane pinned his hat for him and he actually finally was able to take it off and sat and looked at it you could tell how proud he was,” says Kelly Mehlberg, Ron’s stepdaughter.

The pinning ceremony came from an idea, from both Unity and the Denmark VFW, to honor veterans in their final days.

“When you present it to these veterans their face lights up, they’re just so excited, they can’t believe that it’s happening to them, but it’s our way of giving back to them for what they have done for all of us,” says Verheyen.

Along with Ron’s pin, his wife and stepdaughter receive shadow boxes.

Inside will go extremely special items they’ll cherish for years to come.

For Unity staff, granting these gifted wishes is simply a joy.

“And it means a lot to me to be able to provide this to the families and patients and it’s an honor to be able to see them in their excitement and happiness to be able to have these special things that they can remember their loved ones,” says Bain.

“It maybe seems small to someone else, but it’s very meaningful and big to the families that are receiving them and we just are very grateful and appreciative of hospice and all they’re doing for Ron and his journey thus far, it’s just very, very special,” adds Mehlberg.

If you would like to learn more about Unity’s Gifted Wishes, or how to donate to the program, visit

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