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A long-time fixture in the Mount Ayr community, Donald “Jake” Dailey has reached another milestone.
Dailey participated in his 199th pinning ceremony as a veteran volunteer for EveryStep Hospice.
Incidentally, Dailey will celebrate his 98th birthday, Monday, November 25.
The ceremony was in honor of airman Richard McMeins at Mount Ayr Health Care Center, where the event was captured by WHO-TV’s Roger Riley.
A surgical technician during World War II in the South Pacific, Dailey and his three brothers all saw combat during the war.
He was later recalled to active duty to serve stateside during the Korean War.
Dailey has been involved with hospice since his wife Geraldine, a hospice patient, passed in 2009. He became a volunteer the next year.
“It was payback time,” he said.
Over the past 10 years Dailey has served veterans in eight counties.
“It’s an honor to be associated with another veteran,” he said. “It’s an honor to wear the uniform of this country.”
EveryStep volunteer coordinator Angi Dodge has traveled with Dailey to many such pinnings.
“I enjoy taking Jake to pinnings as he is a lot of fun and very knowledgeable,” she said. We have some great conversations about World War II and events in history. I admire his ability to quickly build a rapport with our veterans and families while serving them. He is a great ambassador for EveryStep Hospice.”
“You show appreciation to the people that have gone before, the men in the military and the sacrifices of veterans have made for me, especially the ones that didn’t come home,” Dailey said. “And every family appreciates what hospice does, and they all very much appreciate this pinning.”