Date:  Monday, April 4, 2011                                                            

Contact:  Manny P. Hernandez

                 Manager, Public Information   


U.S. Navy hero Hugh Howell, 92, (seated, right) is surrounded by family and his full Cornerstone Hospice care contingent upon the recent Hospice recognition ceremony at Howell's Sebring home. Left to right: Ken Geren, Chaplain; Yvonne Cannon RN and patient care supervisor for Highlands county; Melissa Albritton licensed practicing nurse; Hillery Douglas, social worker; Marie Abbatoy, RN; Shanell Cody certified nurse assistant; Carolyn Boyd, RN; Sherry DiSimone, volunteer specialist; Norma Ziglar, volunteer; Fredy Justus, family friend; Joseph Klocek, volunteer and Ernie Ziglar, Viet Nam-era veteran and Cornerstone Hospice volunteer for military affairs.


SEBRING --  Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care patient, Hugh Howell, 92, learned the plumbing and electrical trades from his father, and joined the Navy in 1944 as a Shipfitter Third Class at the age of 26.  Recently, Mr. Howell was honored by Cornerstone SALUTES!, a comprehensive  Hospice veterans’ program, by specially trained professionals and volunteers, recognizing veteran patients’ service to their country. 


A veteran’s end-of-life experience can be influenced by many factors including age, branch of service, enlisted vs. drafted, rank, combat and/or possible POW experience. Many veterans who have their lives traumatically changed suffer from social isolation, substance abuse and anxieties. Yet for some veterans, the effects of spending years in a combat or hostile environment may not surface until they age and are very sick and facing the end of life. Then they may experience anxiety, agitation, vivid memories and even flash backs connected to war experiences. 


Mr. Howell and his wife, childhood sweetheart Helen, reared three children – Helen, Hugh, and Sharon, who is the main caregiver for her Dad in Sebring.   During World War II, Mr. Howell was deployed to Pearl Harbor and  then to Johnston Island.  It served as a safe haven for U.S. military personnel and civilians.  There, Hugh and his buddies enjoyed catching fish and lobster for their daily dinner when food and supplies were not abundant.  He repaired refrigeration and air conditioning units, plumbing, and boilers onboard departing and arriving ships.   


Cornerstone Hospice is a non-profit community-based palliative healthcare organization, making its services available since 1984 to all individuals facing life-limiting illnesses and their families without regard to age, gender, national origin, diagnosis, cost of therapy, ability to pay or life circumstances and may be reached in Highlands county at (863)382-4563 or toll-free (800)503-5756 or