U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/CAP and The Denver Hospice unite to honor Project Mercury astronaut Col. John Glenn ended his eulogy for fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter with a phrase echoing Carpenter’s own 1962 benediction for Glenn as he entered space aboard Friendship 7. Godspeed.
Carpenter, 88, died early morning on October 10 at The Denver Hospice inpatient care center at Lowry, surrounded by family. The Colorado native and resolute explorer had experienced a stroke several weeks prior at his home in Vail, and had been transported to Denver when complications arose.
In recognition of his extraordinary service to the nation—as a U.S. Navy pilot, member of Project Mercury and later in the Navy’s SEALAB oceanic research—a special honor was slated for Carpenter the morning of his passing. His wife, Patty, insisted on staying to receive the Certificate of Appreciation from Major General H. Michael Edwards, the Adjutant General for the Colorado Army and Air National Guard, and his “wingman” Chaplain (Col) Andy Meverden.
The tribute had been arranged by Chaplain Brian Tidd of The Denver Hospice, U.S.A.F. Captain (retired) and member of the Thompson Valley Composite Squadron. “Having come to know Scott and his life, I knew having so many members of the Colorado Wing CAP coming together to honor him would be meaningful to the family.
“We come to know about 200 veterans each year in the course of our care,” Tidd continues. “Whether they served here on home soil, were engaged in international conflict or—like Scott Carpenter—traveled beyond Earth’s confines, sharing their stories and service is key.”
The Denver Hospice is the only hospice in the metro area to achieve a Level 4—the highest level—of We Honor Veterans, a partnership of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Veterans Administration. This partnership works to ensure each veteran is appreciated and has access to quality end-of-life care.
Among the many highlights of the We Honor Veterans program are:
· Help accessing Veterans Administration and other benefits
· Certificates of Appreciation given to each veteran
· A Wall of Honor in the Veterans Lounge of our Inpatient Care Center
· Collaboration with the VA Medical Center and Regional Department of Veterans Affairs
· Continuing education for staff who care for veterans.
Chaplain Tidd adds, “We are very interested in connecting with cadets and senior members to be part of our veteran honors program. Many who served in Vietnam have never been honored properly. Having uniformed personnel present these tributes would be both a symbolic gesture and a great comfort to veterans and their families.”