True National Treasure: World War II Nursing Veteran Honored in Special ‘Pinning’ Ceremony
By Space Coast Daily // October 18, 2021
Jean Ostrow, 94, honored by Hospice of Health Care’s Forever a Hero program
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Jean Ostrow of Palm Bay is a true national treasure and a reminder of the vital importance healthcare professionals played during World War II. Her compassion and heroism was honored by Hospice of Health Care’s Forever a Hero program.
Hospice staff joined Jean and her son Rick Ostrow at his Palm Bay home, along with a small group of family and supporters, to watch the 94-year-old receive an honorary pinning for her service in World War II as a member of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.
At the ceremony, original Cadet Nurse Corps lapel pins were given to her, along with a U.S. flag, a U.S. flag-themed throw blanket, and a Health First Forever a Hero certificate.
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She also received an enlarged, laminated membership card from her service in the Cadet Nurse Corps with her age, 18, home address in Escondito, California, date of original admission – Feb. 11, 1945 – and the signature of the Director of the School of Nurse Cadets.
Rick called his mom “one of my heroes,” and noted that she wasn’t the only one.
His dad, Sam – named after Uncle Sam – served in the Army Air Corps, and one of father and son’s proudest memories was going on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. before Sam died. His mother’s brother Ray was a medic in the European theater under Gen. George Patton whose most haunting memory was liberating a Nazi death camp.
During the pinning ceremony, Rick set out his mom’s 76-year-old journal from the war years, along with photos from the time.
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In the 10 years of its existence, the Forever a Hero program at Hospice of Health First has honored America’s veterans and their spouses and has grown to become a Four-Star-rated program through the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans program.
Susan Miller and Hospice of Health First are in the process of applying for Five-Star status, a year-long process that requires rigor and commitment.
For Miller, a U.S. Air Force veteran of 10 years and Hospice at Health First volunteer coordinator, honoring armed forces service members is something of a calling – but a case like Ostrow’s doesn’t call too often.
“I’m a fourth-generation veteran myself, so this, to me, fulfills a sense of duty to our veteran patients.,” said Miller.
“We want to honor our veteran patients and let them know their service and sacrifice is deeply appreciated. Having a sense of meaning and purpose, being able to share that part of our lives, that becomes more important the older we get.”
About 300,000 U.S. World War II veterans are alive in 2020 as the numbers continue to dwindle, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.