This Veterans Day, we would like to honor all the brave people who have served in the U.S. military. Here at the Washington State Chapter, we have many staff, volunteers and loved ones who have served selflessly and courageously. We would like to thank them, not only for their military service, but for their dedication to our cause.
Hari Alipuria is an attorney in Tacoma, WA. He specializes in personal injury and elder law. He is a veteran of the United States Army, a celebrated Toastmaster and a dedicated Alzheimer’s Association volunteer.
He began volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association after his fiancée’s stepmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He wanted to become more knowledgeable about the disease. He learned about the community educator role and decided to put his public speaking skills to U.S.e. When Hari is not working or volunteering, he enjoys working out, reading, and becoming fluent in Español.
Wes Faulkner is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and volunteer at the Alzheimer’s Association. He was drafted into the Marines at the age of 23, and traveled to California, Korea and Japan while in the military. When he returned from his service, he earned a Master of Science in Chemistry from the UW and started working at Boeing soon after. At Boeing, he studied the effects of nuclear weapons and worked on the Minuteman Missile Program.
Wes is 92 and began volunteering with the Association in 2003 in honor of his wife, Mildred. “In 1996, Mildred was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was making mistakes. We would go to Reno every year and coming back, she got confused. She thought I wasn’t going home. While in Reno, she had an episode when she thought she was speaking with an old friend,” Wes said.
“It was a gradual decline until Mildred’s death in 2005. She was about 65 years old when diagnosed. My daughter, Cathy, got involved after the diagnosis and got me going to support groups. I was kind of a loner. I began volunteering for the Association doing data entry for the Helpline—entering calls into a spreadsheet. I volunteer to have something to do and to have interaction with people. I don’t have many friends so this gives me social activity. This is sort of an extension to my family.”
Jerry Stackpole of Monroe, WA has been involved in veterans’ organizations, nearly as long as he has been married – over 60 years. Jerry was born and raised in Northern Idaho. His daughter, Janet, works at the Alzheimer’s Association as The Longest Day Coordinator. In 1950, Jerry enlisted in the U.S. Army. The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 led to U.S. calls to actively re-arm the still-occupied West Germany to defend against the perceived Soviet threat. Jerry was stationed in West Germany with the U.S. Army 28th Infantry Division, 628th Tank Battalion near Nuremberg.
Shortly after Jerry returned to civilian life, Jerry became a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and has been an active member since 1954. He is with Monroe VFW Post #7511 of Monroe, WA. Holding every officer position within his Post (except chaplain), Jerry has also been a VFW Service Officer. In this position, he assists veterans, their spouses and children with filing claims and assuring they receive compensation, pensions and assistance for service-related disabilities.
Jerry had to pivot some of the skills he demonstrated as a service officer helping others, to finding resources for himself when his lovely wife, Mary, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago. Jerry has become a full-time caregiver for Mary. As a former geriatric nurse, Mary was very aware of the onset of the disease. For Jerry, the transformation of their retirement years was a much larger impact. During this time, Jerry turned to the programs and resources of the Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter. “Each program offered me something I could use right away to help Mary or to make sure I am prepared for the next steps,” says Jerry. “Each program seems to be better than the last one!”
Jerry is still active in the VFW and American Legion. He always remembers those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Jerry’s son had a 20-year career with the U.S. Army, his granddaughter is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who is currently serving as a U.S. Navy pilot, one grandson served in the U.S. Coast Guard reserve and another grandson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and is a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.
Warren Walker and Joel Loiacono
Joel Loiacono and Warren Walker were both stationed at Fort Ord as part of the 7th infantry division from 1988-1991 and were deployed to Panama during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989-1990. Although they knew each other during their service, they didn’t know each other beforehand and didn’t keep in touch after — although they did run into each a few times over the years, including once at a farmer’s market. When Warren was diagnosed with dementia in 2018, he knew who exactly who to call: his former comrade-in-arms, Joel. Joel has been with the Alzheimer’s Association since March of 1997 and is the Alzheimer’s Association’s Regional Director for Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
Since then, the two have been “in the trenches” together with a new common enemy: dementia. Warren has gotten very involved, speaking at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 2018 and traveling to Olympia and Washington D.C. with his wife Kiyomi to advocate for legislation that helps people living with the disease. He’s also taken part in many of the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs, including support groups, educational offerings and early-stage memory loss programs. Joel has been Warren’s trusted ally in this fight, with a common bond of military service and a shared connection through this disease.
One thought on “Honoring our Veterans”
Thank you to all our Veterans who shared their stories. My dad, Jerry Stackpole, shared his story above. Typically, he and Mom would be at a Veterans Day parade. This is a truly tough time for Caregivers and those living with Alzheimers during this pandemic. I am proud to be part of the Alzheimers Association that is doing everything it can to reach out to those who need assistance, guidance and compassion. Wes Faulkner – can’t wait to see you back in the office!