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Veterans send powerful message about unity among military members

'Service is something in our hearts that’s ingrained in us,' says US Army veteran
Posted at 10:34 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 22:34:41-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Wednesday, Nov. 11 is Veteran's Day, however, many people are already taking the time to show extra appreciation for our military members.

On Tuesday, many elderly veterans staying at VITAS Healthcare facilities across the country received handwritten letters that were personally delivered by volunteers.

The write-a-vet program is part of the hospice providers' initiative to care for veterans.

During the card campaign, the community thousands of hand-written cards were sent in from across the country as a way to reach veterans and recognize them for their service.

“When our veterans were in the service, the day they looked forward to was mail call day when they could get a large envelope of letters from their loved ones,” said Sara Goldberg, director of market development for VITAS Healthcare. “With COVID, it’s kind of a similar thing they’ve been isolated from their communities and each other and we want to recreate that moment of mail call and feeling of connectedness.”

Sergeant Louis Boria of Orlando was especially touched when opening his personalized card on Tuesday.

“Oorah,” exclaimed Sgt. Boria in response to the hand-written note.

He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries incurred during World War II and the Korean War while a member of the Marine Corps.

Sgt. Boria has a strong family history in service to our country.

His four sons and his brother all became Marines.

However, Sgt. Boria lost one son in the Vietnam War.

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In West Palm Beach, Sergeant First Class Gene Warren Braxton continues to serve veterans at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center to ensure his fellow veterans receive the care they deserve.

“It’s something in our hearts engrained in us and something that we believe in,” said SFC Braxton.

SFC Braxton was enlisted into the US Army eleven days after his 17th birthday, which happens to fall on Veterans Day.

He was so eager to join the service and follow in the footsteps of his father and two brothers.SFC Braxton served from 1975 to 1996 in the Persian Gulf War and spoke to the family bonds he created during his relentless effort to protect our nation.

“I blame it on my mother because she’s passionate about helping people,” SFC Braxon said jokingly. “I wanted to do something for the country and do something to better myself.”

SFC Braxton traveled the world during his service and recognizes the military families who support their spouses during their careers, especially when serving in various counties around the globe.

His locations of service included: Germany; Italy; Kentucky; Alabama; Virginia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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He retired from the US Army in 1996 and moved his family to West Palm Beach in 2004.

However, he now serves his fellow veterans as a cultural transformation coordinator at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center.

SFC Braxton has passionate about educating the community about the all-black "Harlem Hellfighters" unit who fought off two dozen Germans with a gun and then a knife during World War I.

There was an instant smile that beamed across his face when sharing stories about protecting our nation’s freedom, celebrating the sacrifices of military families, and the lifelong bonds he created during his career.

“It’s very special to me,” said SFC Braxton. “Each and every day.”