Unlike many veterans, Vince Healy never shied away from sharing his experiences from the Pacific Theatre of World War II.
“He knew it was an important part of his life,” said his daughter, Theresa. “He had the faith and strength to share his story with so many people.”
Vince served in the Pacific Theatre from 1944-1946. He was born in 1925 and enlisted with the Marines as a senior in high school. His service included the invasion of the islands of Iwo Jima and Kyushu, as well as the occupation of Japan in the cities of Sasebo, Fukuoka and Nagasaki.
As a member of the 5th Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment and 5th Joint Assault Signal Company, Vince was responsible for telecommunications. During the invasion of Iwo Jima, he crawled up the volcanic ash near Green Beach to lay communication lines for American officers.
After his service, he returned to Minneapolis to earn his GED. He graduated Cum Laude from St. Thomas University in 1951 with a degree in Economics.
Vince passed away in August, but his legacy and the stories he shared live on with his family.
“He was honored to serve his country,” Theresa said. “He always remembered the day he landed on Iwo Jima and the men he served with.”
We Honor Veterans
Near the end of his life, Vince received services from Fairview Home Care and Hospice program. He and many other veterans are the reason Fairview Home Care and Hospice as well as Fairview Lakes Homecaring and Hospice have participated in the We Honor Veterans program for the past several years.
We Honor Veterans is a collaborative program between the NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It encourages hospice programs, hospitals and other care to focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement of military veterans.
“One out of every four deaths in America is a veteran,” said Steve Sims, Fairview Hospice Manager. “Many vets have not been acknowledged, honored or thanked for their service, so we like to take this opportunity to recognize them.”
All veterans receive a certificate in the mail shortly after their admission to the hospice program. The certificate states their name and branch of service. It serves as a special tribute to the veterans who enter the hospice program, recognizing them for their service.
The certificate is often displayed in the veteran’s home, says Sims, adding that veterans are very proud to show it to visitors.
For Vince Healy, the certificate allowed him to share his experiences with visitors who would often bring it up during conversation.
“It was another piece of respecting his service to our country,” says Theresa. “It gave him an opportunity to express himself to others beyond just his family.”
Most importantly, Fairview HomeCare and Hospice allowed Vince to live out his last days in his home, where Theresa says he was most comfortable.
“All of the staff at Fairview contributed so much to his life and mine during this time” she says. “It helped us get through this life-changing process – it was such a blessing.”