For some people who decide to serve their country, they say it’s like joining a brotherhood that supports and appreciates one another both during the time in the Armed Forces and the years after.
Service members from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support demonstrated that support when they visited the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center Feb. 10 in Philadelphia to express their gratitude and show appreciation for those who once donned a military uniform. The visit was in support of National Salute to Veteran Patients Week.
“I enjoyed the visit and meeting with the veteran patients and staff,” said Army Maj. Ed Caudell, the Medical supply chain’s Medical Materiel Executive Agent cell chief. “The amount of services offered at the facility to support the veteran patients, and the friendly interactions that we had while visiting with the patients really stood out to me. [This engagement] was a good opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to veterans, while paying them a friendly visit.”
Each year during the week of Feb. 14, the VA invites the community to thank the more than 9 million veterans cared for every day in the VA medical system. National Salute to Veteran Patients Week also raises awareness about each medical center’s role and volunteer opportunities, according to the website.
After speaking with the medical center’s leadership, the military personnel stopped by various departments hoping to raise spirits.
The visitors talked with veteran patients in the physical therapy room and in-patient units, and then took a walk across the street to the medical center’s nursing home.
In some of the rooms, patients could be heard shouting expressions like “Oorah” and “Airborne” as they proudly recounted their time in military service.
Many visitors just wanted to be a listening ear.
“I figured if I was in a hospital, it would be nice to have visitors and someone to talk to who doesn’t have to be there,” said Army Capt. Adelaide Green, a Subsistence food safety officer. “And [I volunteered because] I thought it’d be a good opportunity to hear people’s stories … I liked when they shared a little about what they did in the military.”
As much as they enjoyed talking with the veterans, some visitors also enjoyed learning about what the VA has to offer.
“I volunteered to thank our veterans and hear their stories, but it was also a great visit to see how the VA supports our veterans,” said Army Maj. Michael Martinez, a Clothing and Textile supply chain Customer Account Specialist supervisor. “The medical services provided from the VA [and its partners] were unique and a great opportunity for our local veterans.”
With the visit also held the same week as Valentine’s Day, the visitors helped the veterans “feel the love” from the holiday.
“The medical center gave us Valentine’s Day cards made by elementary school students to hand out to the patients … that was a good aspect of the visit,” said Caudell.
Visit the VA Voluntary Services for more information on VA volunteer programs and opportunities.