Mary Pargin’s military roots run deep.
Her husband is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, her two brothers served in Vietnam, and her daughter is currently serving as a fourth-generation Marine.
Earlier this year, Pargin, who is the Trauma Program Manager and Emergency Management Coordinator at Good Samaritan Hospital, heard about a veteran recognition program at Arlington Memorial Hospital in Texas.
After watching a YouTube video about the hospital’s Final Salute program, Pargin took the idea and “ran with it,” she said.
On Monday, fittingly on Veterans Day, Good Samaritan Hospital unveiled its new Veteran Recognition Program, which will be a mainstay for both inpatient and outpatient visits.
Patients who enter the hospital will now be asked if they are a veteran and whether they would allow the hospital to honor them during their visits.
Veteran status will be entered into Good Samaritan’s electronic medical records system, EPIC, during admission.
If the veteran agrees, they will be given a patriotic arm band, and an American flag sign will be placed on the outside of their room door. This will give staff taking part in veteran’s care an opportunity to express appreciation for their service.
Outpatient veterans may choose to wear an American flag sticker during their visit at the hospital, which will also serve as an identifier for others to show their appreciation.
“We have several veterans in the area and we felt that having a way to show our gratitude was important,” Pargin said. “Not every veteran may want to participate, and that is OK.
“For those that allow us, we just want to acknowledge their service and say thank you.”
Good Samaritan Hospital president and CEO Rob McLin immediately jumped on board with Pargin's idea. For him, the new program is “the least we could do honor their service.”
This same service will be offered in the OB-GYN unit; both for mothers who are veterans and mothers whose military spouses are abroad and can’t be present for the birth of the couple’s new arrival.
For veterans whose lives come to an end at Good Samaritan, a special Final Salute program will take place just after their passing.
The Final Salute begins with staff draping the deceased with a flag before an honor guard of security personnel, the nursing supervisor, orderlies and a chaplain escort the body down the hallway to the Good Samaritan statue in the Gibault Memorial Tower lobby.
A Final Salute call will be announced over the intercom system. Available staff will line the hallway, hand-over-heart, to pay respect to the individual and the family who willingly gave so much, Pargin explained.
Once the processional ends and all have gathered in the lobby, the chaplain will recite “A Veteran’s Prayer,” before sharing information about the individual’s life and military service.
“Our veterans sacrificed so much and fought for our freedom,” said McLin. “We hope that this small ceremony also provides some comfort to the grieving family.”