Daria Ruffolo, DNP, RN, CCRN, ACNP-BC, a nurse with Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., recently traveled to Washington, D.C., on the Honor Flight with 92 U.S. veterans, according to a news release.
The Honor Flight pays tribute to Chicago-area World War II veterans by flying them on an all-expense-paid trip to Washington for a day of recognition, remembrance and celebration.
A former patient encouraged Ruffolo to become involved in the trip. She agreed and joined eight other guardians who were responsible for the healthcare of the veterans throughout the day. The medical and nursing team looked for signs of weakness, dehydration, hypoglycemia and fall risks. Six of the participants required oxygen, many were insulin-dependent diabetics, several were wheelchair-bound and one man was blind.
The Honor Flight was one of the most remarkable experiences I have had as a nurse, Ruffolo said in the release. It was a privilege to be involved with a team who is committed to providing our veterans our national treasures with a wonderful day.
The trip included a water-cannon salute on arrival in Washington. Government officials, an honor guard salute, a performance by the Naval Rifle Artillery team and hundreds of well-wishers also greeted the veterans. They then toured the World War II and other national memorials before returning to Chicago. Upon their return, they were greeted by a battalion of Chicago police and firemen at full salute, nearly 3,000 family members and friends, bagpipers and the Great Lakes Naval Honor Guard.
I recommend that anyone sign up as either a general or medical guardian to care for a veteran, Ruffolo said in the release. Spending the day serving our nations heroes is a life-changing experience.