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Nurse Helps Ailing Vet Celebrate Veterans Day In The Most Heartwarming Way


Not all heroes wear capes. Just ask Michael Welsh, who was inspired by a nurse while being treated for liver cancer. Just when Welsh was about to lose hope, his nurse became his friend and said the one phrase the Vietnam War veteran was hoping to hear: “Thank you for your service.”

Watching Him Slip Away

Kim Johnson sat in a hospital room in November 2017, watching her father, Welsh, 69, begin chemotherapy treatment for his liver cancer. She knew her father wasn’t responding to the treatment. But that wasn’t even the hardest part. Instead, it was watching her father’s disappointment as no one was celebrating his favorite holiday: Veteran’s Day.

Johnson

No “Thank You”

Welsh proudly served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Since his service, he loved wearing a “Vietnam Veteran” ball cap. Last November, it was the day before Veteran’s Day and Welsh was sure someone at the hospital would notice his hat and thank him for his service. Bud sadly, that didn’t happen.

Air Education and Training Command

Feeling Defeated

When Johnson visited her father later that evening, Welsh had removed his ball cap. “I wore my hat all day, and nobody ever said, ‘Thank you for your service,’” he told her. Welsh was defeated and was no longer happy at the hospital. But luckily for him, things were about to change.

Kim Johnson

From One Veteran To Another

When Adam Dobbrastine visited the hospital later that night, he noticed Welsh’s ball cap. Dobbrastine may be an emergency department nurse, but he’s also an Army and Army National Guard veteran. He didn’t plan to become a nurse, but after Dobbrastine and his wife lost their daughter to stillbirth, a nurse helped them cope with the pain. Dobbrastine knew he could do the same with other patients, including Welsh.

Sparrow Ionia Hospital

Honoring A Veteran

Dobbrastine talked to Welsh about their shared interests: fishing and the military. Later that evening, Welsh called his daughter and told her how happy he was. Later, Johnson brought her father’s beloved American flag to the hospital. After Welsh passed away on November 26, Johnson gave the flag to Dobbrastine—her own special way to thank the nurse and veteran for his own unique act of service.

Sparrow Ionia Hospital

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