Michael Wilburn, a 16-year-old Boy Scout in Rockford, IL, was required to complete a project as part of becoming an Eagle Scout. Only about 4% of Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scouts, so the project was important to Michael. One of the requirements of the project was that it needed to be something that would sustain itself after the project was finished. Michael decided to put together an arrangement of blankets and raised money for veteran hospice patients of Heartland Hospice serving North Central Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. The project took him a year to complete and with the help of about 75 volunteers, Michael made 150 blankets that Heartland will give to their veteran hospice patients through their We Honor Veteran program.
Michael said, “A simple ‘thank you’ to an armed forces veteran goes a long way. They’ve always fought for our freedoms and they’ve definitely been mistreated in the past. I’ve heard, during the pinning ceremony, which is where they’re given the blanket and a certificate, they’ve said this is the first time they’ve been thanked. They deserve a good thanks. They deserve to be appreciated.”
“It will be cool to see them used and see them talked about. If someone I know is on hospice services with Heartland and receives a blanket, I’ll know that I was the one who did that. And it’s just nice to know that I’m helping people in the community that helped me,” said Michael.
Heartland Hospice also thanked Michael by presenting him with a pin and a certificate. Janine Idstein, Volunteer Coordinator for Heartland, said, “Michael’s donation of 150 branch-specific military blankets will have a huge impact on our We Honor Veterans program and pinning ceremonies. They will bring so much joy to our veteran patients and they will be a meaningful keepsake for the families to have forever. Being able to present one of these blankets to our veterans at their pinning ceremonies is a wonderful way to spark conversation about their military service and encourage story-telling with their families, which can be healing to them at end-of-life.”
To learn more about the Heartland Hospice and We Honor Veteran partnership, click here.
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