Lakewood Ranch – Tidewell Hospice, a member of Empath Health, is proud to announce it has earned recertification as a Level 5 Partner in the national We Honor Veterans Program. The recertification recognizes the Tidewell Honors Veterans Program as an elite program for care and recognition of our nation’s military veterans and a mentor for hospices across the country that are seeking to establish or enhance their care of veterans.

Level 5 certification must be renewed annually. To achieve Level 5 certification, Tidewell documented its efforts in the following categories:

  • Veteran-focused employee and volunteer training
  • Specialized training for employees and volunteers on the unique challenges faced by Vietnam veterans
  • Veteran volunteers available to serve fellow veterans
  • Veteran recognition, or pinning, ceremonies
  • Community educational presentations and events

“Tidewell Hospice is privileged to thank, serve and honor veterans and their families for the many sacrifices they made to preserve this country’s freedoms,” said Empath Health President and CEO Jonathan Fleece.

Tidewell Honors Veterans has served more than 22,500 veterans in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties since its inception in 2008. The purpose of the program is to respectfully celebrate veterans and their service to our country while providing care that recognizes the unique challenges that may exist in military families. Volunteer veterans conduct pinning ceremonies across Tidewell’s service area to thank veterans for their service.

“Through the efforts of our veterans program, we are able to not only honor those who have served – some who have never been thanked for their service – but to hear the important stories of our heroic veterans. These stories carry on the legacy of individuals who have fought for our freedoms, and we are so fortunate to have them shared with us,” Empath Health Vice President of Volunteer Engagement Stacy Groff said.

Tidewell Honors Veterans was among 20 “all-star partners” invited by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to develop the advanced level of the We Honor Veterans Program. NHPCO created We Honor Veterans 11 years ago in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Empath Health’s other legacy hospice, Suncoast Hospice, also is a Level 5 Partner in the We Honor Veterans Program.

The Tidewell Honors Veterans Program depends on veteran volunteers to perform pinning ceremonies and offer educational programs for the Tidewell teams. For more information, contact Susan Forbes at or (941) 441-2061.


About Tidewell Hospice

Tidewell Hospice, a member of Empath Health, is an independent, not-for-profit health provider offering a home-centered, comprehensive system of end-of-life and palliative care for people living with advanced illness and their families throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Tidewell is accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) with deemed status, signifying excellent care.


About Empath Health

Empath Health is the country’s largest not-for-profit health system delivering non-acute care and services through its skilled, medical and holistic programs to individuals with chronic, advanced and terminal illnesses and those experiencing grief. The Empath Health integrated network of care provides expert medical, counseling and support services including hospice; home health; palliative care; grief services; all-inclusive elder care; HIV/STI prevention services and support; primary care; physician services; and full-service pharmacy and durable medical equipment (DME). Empath Health is honored to have more than 23,000 people enrolled in our Full Life Care services in north central, west central and southwest Florida. We have nearly 90 combined years of experience serving individuals during some of their most vulnerable times. Our wide variety of community-based programs reflects our commitment to the preservation of our charitable mission.