Click above to watch our Father’s Day video saluting WWII Veteran Robert Benden of New Jersey.
Our fathers are our heroes. Father’s Day is time to celebrate them.
For some, the time celebrating with your father has passed and you’re left with cherished memories. Happily, that’s not the case for Baby-Boomers Kitty Benden of Rivervale, New Jersey and her two sisters, Bonnie and Lynn. Their father, WWII Army Veteran Robert Benden, who served overseas with the 300th General Hospital Unit as a radiology tech, is still going strong.
He just celebrated his 101st birthday May 19, 2020. As his birthday approached, our nation was under lock down to weaken the threat of the Covid 19 pandemic. That’s when the American Legion Post 162 stepped up to honor their oldest member, Robert Benden.
They celebrated with a safe yet festive birthday parade Sunday, May 17 led by police vehicles and fire engines that passed by Mr. Benden’s house. Vehicles of family and friends joined in to honor him. Mr. Benden’s parade even made the news on local WCTV!
Meanwhile, with the threat of the Covid 19 virus still looming large, the Borough of Hillsdale canceled the annual Memorial Day parade and ceremonies. However, with the help of the Mayor, American Legion Post 162 was allowed to hold a small, private ceremony with limited personnel and social distancing. The small ceremony at their new Veterans Memorial was shared with the public via an online video.
Perhaps inspired by Robert Benden’s birthday parade, a similar Memorial Day parade was held and streamed online. And the Grand Marshall of course was Mr. Benden, the oldest living veteran in the Washington Township of New Jersey.
“I feel like a star,” says Robert Benden. “I don’t know why they’re doing all this for me.”
The VetAssist Program helps veterans access a benefit to pay for in-home care. His daughters found out about the VetAssist Program, and he signed up at age 99.
According to his daughter Kitty, they learned about a benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs called “Aid and Attendance” from a hospital social worker. “If it wasn’t for that social worker, we would have never known about this benefit,” said Kitty Benden. The social worker also put the Bendens in touch with Veterans Home Care who help seniors file the paperwork and get the care started right away. Veterans and their families who choose the VetAssist Program don’t have to wait for VA funds to arrive to start care.
“It’s a wonderful experience for Dad, but it also changed my life,” says Kitty. Before the VetAssist Program, Kitty was doing her father’s laundry and helping him out around the house while also working a full time job. Now her father has a home care aide to help him during the day. “He loves his aide,” says Kitty. “When his aide was house-hunting, Dad would ride along with her to look for homes. He really enjoyed that. I tell everyone I know about the VetAssist Program.”
Now the Bendens have more time to celebrate holidays, birthdays and Father’s Day because their father’s home care aide is assisting with laundry and other chores.
Robert Benden may not understand why all the fuss. Yet, we do at Veterans Home Care. Every day we speak to veterans who served during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War. It’s a privilege to serve them.
Happy Father’s Day to all our VetAssist fathers! Your service to our country is just one more thing that makes your children and our nation so proud.
If your father’s situation is similar to Mr. Benden’s, learn more about the VetAssist Program and the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit. Overseas service, combat duty or a service-related disability is not required to be eligible. Call 888-314-6075, email firstname.lastname@example.org or www.veteranshomecare.com