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Gilchrist Salutes the Oldest Living Navy Seal

August 27, 2021, Gilchrist, Volunteers, We Honor Veterans
Charles Gillet, the oldest living Navy Seal

Charles Gillet served his country as a member of the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean War. He took pride in his achievement of being the oldest living Navy Seal at the age of 97. When Charles’s health began to decline, he and his nephew thought it best that Charles should spend his final days with the assistance provided by hospice care.

Charles was enrolled in Gilchrist’s We Honor Veterans program, where he was honored with a Salute to Service ceremony conducted by Gilchrist volunteers and military veterans Rick Sullivan and Rick Uhlig. Gilchrist’s Salute to Service tributes thank and honor veteran patients for their service.

Charles’s nephew, Sherlock “Shockey” Gillet Jr., notes how special the ceremony was to his uncle and all those involved in the Salute to Service.

“Rick Sullivan was introduced to me, and he did a great job,” says Shockey. “He and Rick Uhlig were very responsive to our timeline, and once the ceremony was organized, Charles’s immediate family members attended. Rick Sullivan orchestrated a nice presentation with a prayer and a salute, as well as a lovely quilt made by volunteers. Afterward Gilchrist gave our family photos of the ceremony.”

Charles received home care from Gilchrist’s hospice team during his last five days. Caregivers met his medical and physical needs while also providing emotional fulfillment by engaging with Charles over his prized classic car collection.

Gilchrist’s hospice staff brought their care to Charles in an environment where he was most comfortable. His needs were tended to daily to keep him and his family at peace and let him know how grateful our staff was for his service.

Social worker Dawn Linthicum was intimately involved with Charles’s transition to hospice care. When she learned of his military service, she asked his nephew if Charles would be interested in being honored in a Salute to Service Ceremony.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Salute to Service ceremony,” says Charles’s nephew. “When Dawn threw it out there…I decided that it was a very nice idea and was pleased that it could take place at home by my uncle’s bedside.”

Dawn also acknowledges the importance of honoring veteran hospice patients through her work.

“I think the Salute to Service ceremonies that Gilchrist puts on are wonderful,” she says. “I think it’s so touching and special for the patients and the families. I am very honored to be a part of that. We give thanks to our veterans because they are the reason that we are all here. I thank them for their sacrifices and for the lives of all of us that are here now.”

Charles Gillet died peacefully at home with his family on April 1, 2021.

To learn more about Gilchrist’s We Honor Veterans program, visit gilchristcares.org/whv. To support our work, visit gilchristcares.org/give.

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