A resident of the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon passed away Sunday morning, March 22, due to complications related to COVID-19, reported the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“Our hearts are heavy,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “This resident was a veteran who served our nation with honor and dignity in its hour of need. He was also a beloved member of our Lebanon community, and he will be deeply and truly missed. On behalf of everyone at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Oregon Veterans’ Home, we offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We grieve with them.
“At the Lebanon Home, staff continue to diligently follow established infectious disease prevention protocols and public health guidelines,” Director Fitzpatrick continued. “We know they are doing everything in their power to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep our community safe. All possible resources are being made available to support them in their critical work.”
Since the opening of the Home in 2014, every veteran resident who has passed away has been honored with the “Walk of Honor” in recognition of their service to our country. Typically, staff, residents and family would line the halls to salute and pay their last respects.
Sunday, amid the COVID-19 situation, staff adjusted this long-honored tribute. Outside, staff were invited to line the sidewalks — maintaining appropriate social distancing — while his body was escorted to the waiting transportation, draped with a burial flag and a handmade quilt from Quilts of Valor.
Staff fold the burial flag 13 times in accordance with honor guard standards and present it to a family member. Multiple precautionary sterilization measures were taken to protect against the spread of the virus.
“The Walk of Honor is the last form of respect we can offer to honor our veteran and their family,” said Fitzpatrick. “In these unprecedented times, traditions are more important than ever. We will continue to ensure our brothers and sisters in arms receive every honor they deserve while following public health guidelines.”
Out of consideration for the family and confidentiality required by HIPAA, ODVA will not be releasing the resident’s name or other personal information.