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Vietnam casualty, son of Elant at Wappingers Falls couple, honored with flag dedication
Elant at Wappingers Falls recently hosted a ceremony where two Marines presented residents Teresa and Bill Whiteley with an American flag dedicated to their son, who was killed in Vietnam more than four decades ago.
Still, the couple – both of whom live at Elant at Wappingers Falls Nursing Home – talk of their boy often, sometimes with joy, other times with tears.
“We were so proud that he volunteered to serve his country,” said Teresa.
To help honor that personal sacrifice, Elant at Wappingers Falls recently hosted a ceremony where two Marines, Sergeant Aaron Frazier and Lance Corporal Erik Strang, presented Teresa and Bill with an American flag dedicated to their son.
“Having served in the Marines myself, I am very honored that my son is being recognized this way,” said Bill.
The flag will fly above the building, and a plaque has been made to recognize the teen. It will be affixed to the exterior of the building next to the front entrance.
To close the ceremony, Elant at Wappingers Falls resident Noah Havens played his guitar and sang the Marine’s Hymn to the crowd of residents, staff, and community members.
Teresa and Bill, neither of whom knew of the event beforehand, both had tears in their eyes as the brief outdoor ceremony came to a close. Before heading back inside, Teresa passed on an opportunity to shake the Marines’ hands, asking instead for a hug.
“Our residents are like members of our family, and both Bill and Teresa are such special people,” said Dana Diorio-Casey, Elant at Wappingers Falls executive director and vice president. “It was really important for us to help memorialize someone so important to them.”
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Elant, Inc., a community-based, not-for-profit organization, has been a part of the Hudson Valley healthcare landscape for the past 25 years. Its seven campuses, located across five counties, serve an estimated 3,500 people daily and provide sub-acute care and rehabilitation services, nursing home care, assisted living, adult day care, retirement community living, home health care, and a managed long-term care plan. Elant’s mission is to provide personalized, high-quality care and lifestyle options to persons of diverse generations, cultures, means, and needs.