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‘It’s a moment you never forget’: Tacoma nurse honors veterans

TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma Nurse is on a mission to serve our service members. He’s getting a lot of attention for how he’s helping patients during some of the most difficult times of their lives.

“They deserve the respect and the dignity and the honor of having the final salute,” Daniel Keene said.

Keene is a U.S. Army veteran and a well-known nurse at Tacoma General Hospital. He’s passionate about helping his patients.

Keene is bringing an honorable tradition to his hospital by draping the American flag over veterans who passed away and playing Taps as he does an honor walk down the hospital hallway.

Healthcare workers show their gratitude for the sacrifices veterans have made for our country, along with showing respect for loved ones. Including one family KIRO 7 spoke with.

“It’s a moment you never forget,” said Terri Morehead, the daughter of Gordon Metcalf.

Metcalf passed away in November at Tacoma General. He was a Ballard native and served in the U.S. Navy for seven years.

“It’s like you’re broken,” Morehead said. “Your family’s broken.”

Morehead said she didn’t expect the sendoff.

“It was very unexpected that they were going to even do this for my dad to begin with,” she said.

The family received a tribute of a lifetime as their father was covered in broad stripes and bright stars - a flag he devoted his life to.

“Proud of my dad,” said Vicki Playle, daughter of Metcalf.

Playle’s heavy heart was filled with pride after seeing her father’s impact on strangers.

“It was very touching, very touching to see other people that we didn’t know, that he didn’t know, give tribute to him for what he did,” she said.

“Everybody lined up in the hallway with their hands over their heart for my dad, he couldn’t have asked for a better way to go,” said Morehead.

Since 2020, Daniel Keene has helped families of over 100 veterans in Western Washington.

“I hope it gives them a little bit of closure,” Keene said. “And I hope it lets them know we feel their loved one as is important as they do.”

And Metcalf’s family feels it.

“It’s just an honor,” said Morehead. “I will never forget that. Never ever forget going down the hallway with my dad with that flag over him.”