NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As we get closer to Veterans Day, we’ll see plenty of parades and celebrations for those who served our country.
There are many who aren’t well enough to make it to the festivities. Instead, they are being honored behind the scenes.
A very personal ceremony was held in honor of Marine Corps Veteran Sgt. Victor Pena, who now suffers from ALS.
He’s receiving a handmade recognition blanket, made for veterans at the end of life through American Veterans (AMVETS) and is getting care from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Veterans Program.
“It meant a lot because there’s really a lot of people out there helping us out and veterans do need a lot of help,” Sgt. Pena said.
Pena joined the Marines at 20 years-old, but three years ago he was diagnosed with ALS and is now getting help from the VNSNY.
Sung Yoon is the hospice veterans liaison. She served in the Army as a medic and knows how hard it can be to reach out for help.
“It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and to actually get help because you’re not suffering alone, you’re not alone,” Yoon explained.
Joseph Vitti also served in the U.S. Army and now helps veterans in hospice, getting them the medical and emotional support they need.
“If there is a veteran in need regardless of what branch of service their rank, how long they were in… regardless of the character of discharge, if they need medical help please reach out to the veterans program,” Vitti said.
Sgt. Pena says while ALS has crippled his body, he will always be a strong Marine.
“I am a very proud Marine. Once a Marine always a Marine.”
He says he has the strong team he needs to fight this medical battle.