Soldiers, sailors and airmen assigned to Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support met with military veteran patients at the Michael J. Crescenz Veteran Medical Center in Philadelphia Feb. 17 as part of the U.S. Veterans Affairs National Salute to Veteran Patients Week.
The visit afforded the active service members some time to interact with the veteran patients: to say hello, lend an ear, deliver Valentines or communicate a simple smile.
“I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend my day today than thanking the vets for their service,” said DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton.
The visit also provided DLA’s service members an opportunity to observe VA patient care in person.
“It was very important for us to get a visual, first hand, and to see the veterans taken care of so well,” said Army Master Sgt. Jose Moraga, from the Clothing and Textiles supply chain, explaining that many military members will eventually be in the VA system. “It boosted our morale just to hear their stories and watch them go through their different treatments.”
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Salute to Veteran Patients Program honors more than 98,000 veterans nation-wide in the care of VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries and nursing homes. Last week was the 40th annual National Salute.
The DLA Troop Support members visited several medical center areas seeking ways to connect with veterans and their accompanying family members.
For Moraga, an immediate connection occurred when the veterans asked about current military uniforms.
“Our uniforms have changed since the era of the vets we visited … they were interested in the different uniforms,” Moraga said. “That connected with my supply chain, Clothing and Textiles, so it was good to come full circle.”
Army Master Sgt. Cynthia Gyening, DLA Troop Support’s senior enlisted leader, led many of the interactions with veterans.
“Today was an absolutely wonderful day. Anytime I get the opportunity to spend time with veterans, to thank them for paving the way for me and my fellow service members, is a true honor,” she said.