Seniors homes & AccentCare Honor Veteran Residents

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note 

 Senior veterans get ready to shoot their Nerf guns during a fun moment of the Veterans Day celebration at Brookdale Senior Living Nov. 10.

Senior veterans get ready to shoot their Nerf guns during a fun moment of the Veterans Day celebration at Brookdale Senior Living Nov. 10.

Photo by Charity Meier

NOVI — Residents at Brookdale Senior Living and Novi Lakes Health Campus who served in the armed forces were honored with special ceremonies ahead of Veterans Day.

The ceremony at Novi Lakes Health Center took place Nov. 8. The veterans were honored with a presentation by members of the AMVETS Post 2006, of Highland.

Members of AMVETS came in with a full color guard and shared their personal service stories, as did some of the residents. Each resident veteran was presented with a medal and a flag, and then was saluted by a member of AMVETS. This is the sixth year that Novi Lakes has held a ceremony to recognize its veterans.

“The veteran residents were very appreciative and grateful to be recognized,” said Sarah Wozniak, life enrichment director at Novi Lakes Health Campus. “After the ceremony, I had one of the veterans personally thank me for doing that for them. He said that it’s really good to be recognized for his service.”

Brookdale Senior Living residents were treated to a ceremony with traditional patriotic and military songs performed by music therapist Jennifer Smith, of AccentCare Hospice, including “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Meghan Pavliscak of AccentCare Hospice emotionally read Rita J. Landers’ poem ‘The American Vet’ with tears in her eyes, and resident activities manager Jesse Barrons recited “Beatitudes of American Servicemen and Women.”

The resident veterans were all presented with a certificate of appreciation for their service and were individually saluted by Ben Bowerman, a tech sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. The ceremony was coordinated by Nikkie Knight, of Brookdale Novi.

“Anytime I get the honor to be a part of your lives, it’s a blessing, because it’s because of your service that I’m able to serve today, and your hard work paved the way for all the servicemen and women today,” said Bowerman. “I wanted to personally come here today to thank you all and put my part in to let you know that I will continue and I promise to continue on the legacy that you guys built in this country. … I would also like to thank not only you gentlemen but the spouses and family that supports you. … They’re the ones who sacrifice when we’re gone, and it’s hard on everybody, but they deserve just as much praise. Again, thank you for your service.”

Following the ceremony, residents enjoyed cake and a Nerf gun war in which they were given Nerf guns and were allowed to shoot at the staff, including Barrons, who wore a target on his back. Barrons, the staff and Bowerman’s children ran throughout the dining area in front of the line of veterans, ducking under and around tables in an effort to avoid the foam darts.

“I wanted to do something that was fun for you guys, and what better than a Nerf gun war?” Bowerman said.

“I know my husband, he was thrilled with it,” said Janice Randall, 89, whose husband, Dick, fought in the Korean War. “He said it was so nice and it made him feel so important. It was just nice for them to be recognized. I thought it was very nice that they did that for him. They all enjoyed the game. You know, as you get older, you really start to enjoy the simple things. They even ran out of (Nerf) guns. It was great; all of us enjoyed it. (My sister) Joanne (whose husband Roland Arnold is a World War II veteran) and I thought it was wonderful that they did this for our guys. It’s all they talked about for three days,” said Randall.