Approximately four years ago while attending a Veteran’s Day event at the Rotary Club of Gainesville, John Brunner noticed the American Flag stands on the tables were poorly crafted. John, a United States (U.S.) Navy Veteran of 22 years, believed he could make a better stand for the flags.

“I was in 4-H Club as a kid and that taught me a little about woodworking,” said John who retired from the U.S. Navy in 1995 and went on to pursue a career in real estate. “I have been woodworking for about 50 years. It is peaceful, and it has a calming effect on me.”

John has now started using his woodworking talents to help the Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer program. “Through her work at Comfort Keepers Home Care and the Windsor of Gainesville, my wife frequently works with Haven Hospice,” said John who has been a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville since 1999 and served as president in 2002 to 2003. “I have probably made close to 150 stands for Haven. I try to make them once a year and make sure Haven has enough to get through the military holidays.”

John carves the stands out of walnut, and he even made a case to carry the stands and donated that to Haven. “We are so thankful that John is willing to take the time to make these flag stands for Haven,” said Gainesville Volunteer Coordinator Molly Cowart. “It is an honor to be able to recognize our veterans, and the flag stands are a great addition to our veteran recognition ceremony.”

Haven shows appreciation for patients who have served in all branches of the military. Through the We Honor Veterans Program, Haven provides patients with a special pinning ceremony. This volunteer opportunity is for retired or active military. Haven believes the ceremony means more to the patient when it is conducted by someone who has also served. To learn more about becoming a veteran volunteer or learning more about other volunteer opportunities, please contact Haven Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Molly Cowart at 352.379.6207.