The VNA of Northwest Indiana (VNA of NWI) is proud to announce that it has achieved Level 5 status in its We Honor Veterans program. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) awarded the VNA of NWI with the status on Thursday, February 11, 2021. It is the highest level a hospice provider can achieve in the program; only seven other hospices in the State of Indiana have achieved this distinction, with the VNA of NWI being the only such provider in Northwest Indiana to be recognized with the program’s “Five Stars.”
“Level five status is a tremendous accomplishment and an indication of our deep commitment to our veteran community,” said VNA of NWI president/CEO Bob Franko. “It was a year’s worth of rigorous work and meeting high standards in training, outreach, partnerships and reporting,” he said. The requirements included hosting veterans panels, “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” events, collaborating with the Veterans Administration, intensive training of staff and volunteers on veteran-related issues and care, and integrating new practices into care planning for veterans and their families.
“I’m proud of the dedication of Erica Kerkes, our Volunteer Coordinator who oversees our We Honor Veterans program,” Franko said. “Erica and a team of staff and volunteers worked tirelessly through the challenges of a global pandemic to achieve this distinction. It speaks volumes to our commitment to our veterans.”
One of the collaborative efforts of the program is a partnership with Chesterton Brewery in the creation of its Best Days Hazy IPA beer. The beer is dedicated to VNA of NWI’s We Honor Veterans program and includes a QR code on its can that directs viewers to VNA of NWI’s website for information on the program and how to get involved. The beer is available in several retailers and local restaurants as well as at Chesterton Brewery’s taproom in Chesterton. The Brewery’s motto is “Veterans brewing for veterans.”
“My dad is a Vietnam vet so this program is near and dear to my heart,” said Kerkes. “Our veterans have given so much to this country and to all of us, so we owe them tremendous gratitude and exceptional care to make sure they are recognized and appreciated.”
The VNA of NWI is a nonprofit organization that provides hospice services, palliative care, Meals on Wheels of Porter County, LifeLine life alert services, and the Phoenix Center. It has offices in Valparaiso, Laporte and Crown Point. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020.