This Veterans Day, we remember Tom Jeffrey, husband of long-time volunteer with the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA) Suzanne Jeffrey, who passed away earlier this year. Tom was always supportive of Suzanne’s work with the VNA, and the VNA is grateful to him not only for encouraging her to give back to their patients but for himself giving back to the United States.
Tom’s service began when he was drafted in the late sixties during the Vietnam War, though he was primarily stationed in South Korea. In South Korea, he protected the DMZ line, also known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a buffer between North and South Korea.
Volunteering in the Service
While serving in South Korea, Tom began teaching younger service members who hadn’t graduated from high school, so they could get their GEDs. Many of these service members kept in touch with Tom over the years and told him that he inspired them to “stop fooling around” and get their degree. Some even went to college and went on to have successful careers. Though he disagreed with the war he fought in, he found purpose from teaching those young men and felt he made the best of the situation.
After returning to the States, Tom established a career at State Farm Insurance Company where he investigated fraudulent claims. At the same time, he was a dedicated volunteer with the United Service Organizations Inc. (USO), an organization with setups at airports across the country where troops can seek care and rest.
Tom volunteered at St. Louis Lambert International Airport where he did anything he could to help fellow veterans, whether that was checking them in, getting them food or fixing things in their facilities (Tom was quite the handyman). Overall, he just wanted to show care for the troops as he had a respect for them that he didn’t feel when he returned to the States after the Vietnam War. His favorite part of volunteering was talking to the troops and hearing their stories.
Thank you, Tom, for your service, commitment to serving the community and heart for others. VNA is committed to recognizing veterans in their network who have worked to make a difference in the world and the St. Louis community.
This year, honor the veterans in our community with a donation to VNA so they can get the end-of-life care they deserve to age with dignity: https://www.vnastl.com/donate