Discovering Veteran’s Accomplishments 61 Years Later

 In Patient & Family Stories

When he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, Cornelius (Neil) Jones Sr. initially reluctant to go overseas. Being the family man that he was, he did not want to leave his wife, who at the time was pregnant with his daughter.­­

Neil Jones in the Military

Neil Jones was drafted into the military in 1951

The Army was not something that Neil was looking forward to, but once he was drafted it made such a difference in his life. “He has a very caring and giving heart and it spilled over into Korea once he got there. He is often times pictured with children of Korea because he has always been drawn to young people, even to this day,” notes his daughter, Norma.

Neil was in the last racially segregated antiaircraft battalion of the United States Army. Born in 1928, this came as a disappointment to Neil. Norma recalls her father saying, ‘I just want to see what those guys are like.’

Norma and her husband became primary caregivers when Neil became ill. Day and night, Norma and her husband cared for her father in their home. Norma wanted the best for her dad, “I was set on his life ending at home with me because he needed to be surrounded by all of us that loved him and we would all be there.” It was their family physician that said, “That’s probably not the best thing for you. There are people that are trained to make sure he passes with dignity and that he isn’t in pain.” At that time they called in The Denver Hospice.

“Once we did walk in the door of The Denver Hospice, the building, the facility is gorgeous.” Norma continues, “I think for the first time I was able to sleep when I went home. When you don’t know what hospice means, you think hospice means death, but really hospice means quality of life and I have a whole different outlook on what hospice is.”

A young Neil Jones sits with his family.

A young Neil Jones sits with his family.

It wasn’t until a chaplain of The Denver Hospice discovered that Neil had earned two bronze stars and a United Nations distinguished medal that his family really understood that their father was a Korean War hero.

“I didn’t do anything much, but I was supposed to get three medals,” Neil told his Denver Hospice chaplain. Thanks to The Denver Hospice, on May 15, 2014, Neil was finally awarded the medals he had earned 61 years earlier.

“All of our lives, it has just been his army stories, some of them were tall tales that were not true, like fish stories, but now we know the real story hero,” said Norma.

“If it wasn’t for The Denver Hospice we wouldn’t have known that our father was a war hero.”

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