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Friday, January 13, 2017
On Friday, November 11th, Tom Cornelius was given a special assignment. It was Veteran’s Day, and Tom—an Army veteran and Agrace volunteer—was asked to deliver a Celebration of Life meal to hospice patient and fellow veteran living in Janesville.
Tom recently celebrated nine years volunteering at Agrace, making him a veteran volunteer, but he’s also a military veteran. Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Tom was drafted into the military on his 20th birthday. He served in the Army from 1953-1955 during the Korean War. When asked about his military experience he said, “It was a commitment, a privilege, a good experience and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
After Tom’s service, he met his first wife in college and then moved to Janesville where he has resided for more than 50 years. It is his strong desire to help people that led Tom to hospice volunteering. He has been delivering Celebration of Life meals to Agrace patients in Rock County since 2007.
The food for these special meals is graciously donated by Ding a Ling and Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Janesville and is, in Tom’s words, “First class food!” When the food is ready, Tom picks it up and delivers it to patients and families. “I feel privileged to have done this for several years now. People really appreciate it, too. It sure makes them happy.”
For his Veteran’s Day volunteering “mission,” Agrace staff provided Tom a veteran’s certificate and honorary pins to present to Nels Quam, a Navy veteran living in Janesville. During the visit, Tom learned that the two veterans have more than Agrace in common. Not only are Tom and Nels the same age, they also served in the same conflict at the same time, and they share the same birthday. “How ironic!” Tom exclaimed.
Nels’ wife and daughter were present during Tom’s visit and wanted to share this photo to show the pure joy this brief interaction brought to these veterans on Veterans Day. Nels said, “Thank you for the meal. It really helped and it was really good to meet Tom. Real nice guy. Helpful and friendly.”