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Proud Marine Laid To Rest in Formal Dress Blues

Tommy Hance had one final request.

He wanted to be buried in the Marine dress blue uniform of his service to his country. And he was.

Tommy is described by his sisters as gentle, intelligent, an excellent cook, a lover of classical music and opera. He had a great sense of humor and loved starting and growing his own vegetables from seed. He loved books and hated owing anyone a debt. Respectful of others and a fighter to the end. Tommy Hance Hospice of Dayton

For the last ten years, Tommy had been caring for his aging mother. Then came what was believed to be a bad cold and cough that turned out instead to be a cancer diagnosis.

Tommy attended Stivers High School and had enlisted in the Marines at age 17, believing he could make a difference. The oldest of five children, Tommy trained at Camp Lejeune and then shipped off to Vietnam. Tommy was called “Rocket Man” by his platoon. Small in stature, Tommy was tasked with carrying a rocket launcher on his back, the first to blaze the trail through rice paddies. He was, his sisters say, “proud to be a Marine, but not proud of what he had to do.” Tommy was exposed to Agent Orange and returned home a victim of PTSD. His military experience left many marks.

When he returned to Dayton, Tommy earned a certificate in heating and air conditioning from Sinclair Community College. He worked a variety of jobs, loved working on cars and was a talented mechanic. When his father passed away, Tommy moved back home and assumed responsibility for caring for his mother.

Over the months of Tommy’s treatment for cancer, he spent hours talking and laughing with family and friends. He told them he wished he still had his Marine dress blues so he could be buried in the uniform that made him feel proud. They shared the story with his caregivers at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, who promptly went to work to ensure his final request could be fulfilled. Working with the VA and Wright Patterson Air Force Base, hospice staff made arrangements for a uniform of appropriate size to be shipped overnight.

Tommy Hance got his final wish, once again a proud Marine, handsome in his formal dress blues.



African American Congressional Medal Winner Among Those Honored at American Pride Memorial

During Black History Month, we highlight John Lee “Jack” Cooper, who was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. We honor him at our American Pride Memorial.Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton has the privilege to serve Veterans every day. Our American Pride program is designed to assure that the unique needs of Veterans are addressed and our American Pride Memorial celebrates those who have sacrificed to assure American freedom.

During Black History Month, we highlight John Lee “Jack” Cooper, who was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Cooper was one of an estimated 20,000 black Americans who enlisted in the Marine Corps between 1942 and 1949. The enlistees were the first to integrate the U.S. Armed Forces. Sent to Montford Point, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for training, Cooper and his fellow black troops were segregated and trained separately from white soldiers. That changed when troops served side-by side in the war theaters of World War II. Cooper served in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1945. Upon his return to the states, he and his wife Gladys settled in Dayton, where he worked for 36 years and retired from Delphi division of General Motors.

Congress designated the Montford Point Marines as Congressional Gold Medal honorees in 2012, but were unable to present Cooper’s medal to him when they were unable to locate him. A family member rectified the failure, making sure that Cooper received the honor in 2013 while he was a patient with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. U.S. Representative Michael Turner and Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell were among those present to honor the 91-year old Cooper when the medal was presented.

We are proud to include “Jack” Cooper among those Veterans recognized at our American Pride Memorial. We invite anyone in the greater Dayton area with information about a Veteran who should be recognized for their service to submit information and be included in our Memorial listings.

We celebrate the service and courage of “Jack” Cooper, honoring the memory of a man who helped make history and change history as an early pioneer of civil rights.


Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Joins In Honoring Veterans

comm-care-vet-pinHospice of Dayton, Hospice of Miami County and Community Care Hospice – all affiliates of Ohio’s Hospice – joined together to honor Clinton County Veterans participating in a recent Honor Flight visit to Washington D.C. Almost 80 Veterans and their guardians took part in the Honor Flight experience, which included a tribute and send off at the Clinton County Courthouse.

The flight was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wilmington, which raised money to send the Veterans and their guardians on the Honor Flight trip to see war memorials in the nation’s capitol. The community-based hospice organizations recognized participating Veterans with an American Pride pinning ceremony prior to their departure, making sure that each Veteran received an American Pride pin and was thanked for his/her service. The effort was a community extension of the American Pride program of each of the hospices. American Pride assures that Veterans in hospice care receive benefits and support that acknowledge their services and sacrifice. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illnesses, these local not-for-profit hospice providers are able to accompany and guide Veterans and their families towards a more peaceful ending.