Honorable military veterans share a common bond of experiences and memories from having served their country to which most civilians have a difficult time relating. And that bond generally transcends all branches of service, uniforms, and rank.
Regardless of whether their service was in a combat zone, or not, you really “had-tobe- there” to fully appreciate the impact and lasting impression that military service has on a person. In that regard one proud veteran is spearheading an unprecedented effort of volunteer visitation with his aging peers for friendly conversation and camaraderie.
Inspired by his participation in the organization of a recent military-related event that assembled, recognized, and honored nearly 40 WWII veterans (now in their late 80s and 90s), Army veteran Sgt. Richard Erschik saw the faces of these often unsung heroes beam with smiles and delight from his simple and obviously relatable comments and conversation about specific subjects that were clearly recalled as part of the most memorable years of the veterans’ lives.
“When I saw their faces light up from my mention of the chow line, the motor-pool, KP (military acronym for Kitchen Police) and suggested that one of the four proud veterans at my table had Pots-n-Pans (a laborious KP task) after the event, my light went on for this idea of a hospital bedside and/or special occasion veteran visitor initiative,” said 70-year-old Erschik who was inducted (drafted) into the military to serve his country from 1965 to 1967 during the turbulent Vietnam era. He is not unique in his remembrance of explicit details from his time served, like it was yesterday, almost 50-years later.
“Too many families arrange for military recognition of their veteran loved ones at their funeral when it’s too late for the deceased to really appreciate the attention.” Erschik continued. “While my will also requests military recognition when I die, I know what it would mean if someone did this for me while I’m still alive to enjoy and appreciate it.”
Honorably discharged Sgt. Erschik will arrive to meet your WWII, Korea, or Vietnam veteran loved one in his sign-ofthe- time military dress uniform and engage them in relatable conversation. More importantly, he will listen to them if they want to share their relatable stories and memories with someone who understands.
He will leave them with a commemorative challenge coin, a personalized Veteran Visitor certificate of appreciation, and his peer-to-peer thanks for their service, having impacted them with his sincere interest, recognizable military experience, and uniformed persona.
While there is no-charge for an honorable visit to your veteran family member or friend in the hospital, assisted care facility, at a special occasion, or in their private residence, ample notice of the desired date and time is requested, along with the understanding that the destination is not more than a 25-mile driving distance from Homestead.
• If you have a military veteran family member, or close friend, in the Homestead or South Florida area that served in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam circa 1943-1975, that you think would like to be visited by Sgt. Erschik in this humanitarian and benevolent act of fellowship, visit www.VeteranVisitor.com for more information.
• If you are a likeminded honorably discharged 60-plus-year-old military veteran, in the Homestead or South Florida area, who would like to join Sgt. Erschik’s Veteran Visitor program, and be on call to volunteer to spend some quality and memorable time visiting with your veteran peers, contact him by email at SgtErschik@VeteranVisitor.com for the requirements to be added to the list.