SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Recent research shows rates of military veterans in hospice are higher than other medicare recipients.

A patriotic poem is one heard by veterans in Allied Services Hospice Care. The poem is part of a veterans recognition program launched in June 2020 by U.S. Army vet Ronald Skamanich of Duryea and his wife, along with Allied Services Hospice Care. Linda Skamanich saw a need through her volunteer work at Allied.

“I do the home hospice calling and some of them were veterans also and it just seemed to be a good idea,” said Linda Skamanich.

“When a veteran passes away, they get a military funeral and everything and I said ‘let’s do something before that’,” stated Ronald Skamanich, the Organizer of Veterans Recognition Program.

The couple presents veterans in Allied Services Hospice with a patriotic recognition packet. It contains a certificate, a U.S. desk flag and one representing the vet’s military branch of service, and a star from a retired U.S. flag.

Skamanich vividly recalls that the first recognition ceremony at the hospice unites the bedside of U.S. Marine Corps veteran John Coyne.

“The whole family was out on the lawn. We opened the windows so they could hear the program and there were children. I mean, I was just, wow, this is unbelievable that they came, you know, they wanted to hear,” explained Ronald.

“So they never had one before until us. So it was very meaningful that we were the first one and we were all here together and that they respected that he was a veteran,” said Riley Marcksm, John Coyne’s granddaughter.

Some of the recognition programs are even done at the home of veterans in hospice.

“A lot of them never ever got the recognition or the family doesn’t really know,” said Ronald.

The Skamanaches are changing that during a veteran’s final days. They wish to continue the veteran’s recognition program as long as possible.

To learn more about the veteran’s recognition program through Allied Services, head to their website for information.