Submitted by Derrick Sykes, Big Bend Hospice Veteran Liaison

Sergeant First Class Tom M. Braswell, Jr., was honored with a valor ceremony by the Big Bend Hospice Valor Team on Saturday, June 12, 2021. This was a special celebration because Sgt. Braswell is one of Big Bend Hospice’s original Valor Team members. These Volunteers have helped honor those who served in the Armed Forces since 2014.

Braswell’s ceremony was led by Henry Lowery, a retired Marine Corps veteran. During the ceremony, Braswell was presented with a certificate of appreciation signed by BBH’s CEO, Bill Wertman, and given a tabletop American flag and a handmade quilt hand-sewn by a Jefferson County Volunteer. Music Therapist Katlyn Gatti led the Valor Team in patriotic songs including the Army anthem. The ceremony was attended by his wife, Helen, along with several other family members and friends within the Monticello community. Also in attendance was Valor Team member Bonnie McHugh who shared a warm embrace with Sgt Braswell after they realized that they had served together in the Army Reserve unit located in Tallahassee, FL.

Tom and Helen have been Hospice Volunteers for over 10 years. In addition to serving on the Valor Team, both have helped with direct patient needs, caregiver respite, administrative support, and have served on the Jefferson County Advisory Council. Helen was presented with the Heart of Hospice award in 2018.

The Valor Ceremony is one component of BBH’s Valor Program that honors those who served our country. Vet-to-Vet visits are available for the unique companionship Veterans provide to one another. A Veterans Memorial Garden is located at the Jean McCulleyFamily House and is where many Veteran Remembrance Services are held for those who have lost a loved one.

Braswell’s Valor ceremony concluded with the greatest show of respect one Veteran can display to another–a military salute by all Veterans in attendance. “I appreciate my fellow Valor Team members for taking time to honor me for my military service,” Braswell told us.

To learn more about the Big Bend Hospice Valor Program, please contact BBH Veteran Liaison Derrick Sykes at (850) 878-5310 or visit