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When Yates County was ‘Little Denmark’

Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day — call it what you will, the intent of the Nov. 11 holiday is the same: to honor those who have served their nation and risked all in its defense. In the United States, with Memorial Day to remember those veterans who have died, we designate Veterans Day to honor those still living. But one group has made it their special mission to be sure veterans in their final day are aware of their nation’s gratitude, “and that no vet should ever die alone.”

Ontario-Yates Hospice volunteers, with the impetus of Col. Michael J. Healy (ret.) and his wife, Kimiyo, created a fund and established the “We Honor Veterans” program 2 1/2 years ago for the local hospice organization. “We Honor Veterans” is a nationally certified recognition program sponsored by the Veterans Administration, but supported only by charitable contributions and the efforts of the volunteers.

In October, the volunteers honored Navy Commander Dale F. Mueller, 94, of Penn Yan, a veteran of two wars. The ceremony in his home consisted of the presentation of a U.S. flag pin, a flag lap throw, a framed certificate thanking him for his service, a reading of “The Sailor’s Creed,” and saluting him in the presence of four of his children there with him.

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