Saluting a Hero: Honoring World War II Veteran Joseph Bichler’s Service and Recognition

Hospice of the Red River Valley is honored to provide care for and recognize veterans who have served our country. Honoring our nation’s veterans includes not only acknowledging their service and sacrifice but also supporting them throughout their entire lives. Hospice of the Red River Valley has had the honor of providing care for thousands of veterans since our founding in 1981.

We recently had the honor of celebrating and recognizing Joseph Bichler, a 100-year-old World War II veteran during a We Honor Veterans Pinning Ceremony. During the ceremony, Bichler was surrounded by family, friends and other veterans while he was presented with the American Theater Campaign Medal, the Victory Medal and two service pins which was impactful for Bichler and his family because he hadn’t previously received recognition for serving our country.

Bichler showed immense bravery during his time in the Navy. He was aboard a Navy destroyer that went down after coming under enemy fire in 1943 near the coast of Japan. Bichler was one of 150 sailors who were forced to abandon ship and wait in the cold ocean waters until they could be rescued. A fellow sailor held Bichler’s head above water until rescue came as he was experiencing very severe cramps in the water. Bichler showed an immense amount of courage throughout his whole time in the Navy, and we are delighted to have had the privilege of recognizing him with the presentation of these medals and pins.

One of Bichler’s children, Becky Pfau described the pinning ceremony as being an emotional but amazing moment for her father and their family. “We were so proud to watch him receive his medals and to see how proud he was to be recognized for his service to our country,” Becky explained. “Watching him salute to fellow Veterans and be presented with medals and pins was so emotional for all of us.” Bichler’s wife, Ann, and seven children, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren attended the ceremony, all celebrating this amazing day.

Joseph Bichler was born on July 21st, 1923, growing up with 13 siblings – two brothers and eleven sisters, in Linton, North Dakota. Bichler served in the Navy for three years from 1943 to 1946. After returning from the Navy, he attended welding school in Fargo, North Dakota. After Bichler’s father fell ill, he returned to Linton to help on the family farm. From there he ran his own farm and retired from farming in 2006.

Bichler married his wife, Ann Sehn, on October 12th, 1948, just recently celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Joseph and Ann had seven children, eleven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Joseph always kept his welding talent and would make his children and grandchildren amazing treasures.

Bichler started receiving care from Hospice of the Red River Valley’s sister organization, House Calls in 2021, which provides primary and palliative care services. Bichler’s daughter, Becky, explains the care her father received as being great. She explained that the monthly visits from the House Calls Nurse Practitioners were extremely helpful, caring for her father’s and family’s needs. This year, Bichler made the transition to receiving hospice care from Hospice of the Red River Valley. Transitioning from House Calls to Hospice of the Red River Valley’s care was extremely painless, Becky explained. Bichler was familiar with both Dr. Tracie Mallberg, Medical Director of House Calls and Hospice of the Red River Valley and Nurse Practitioner, Melissa Fofana. Bichler knew the care was going to be great without having to leave his home, so it was such a smooth and easy transition.

Providing care to patients like Joseph Bichler is such an honor. Hospice of the Red River Valley is here to provide care to individuals during their life’s journey – every step of the way.


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