By Paula Green
Many folks have thoughts of Valentine's on their mind during the second week of February. But when thinking of loved ones, don't forget about those who need care and compassion, such as hospitalized veterans. National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, also known as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week, is observed this year from Sunday, February 12, through Saturday, February 18. It is an annual commemoration held during the second week of February corresponding with Valentine's Day.
The purpose of this annual observance is to pay tribute and express appreciation to veterans, increase community awareness of the role of the VA medical center, and encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and to become involved as volunteers.
It is your opportunity to thank a particular group of military men and women. More than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services are cared for daily in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, outpatient clinics, and domiciliary and nursing homes.
The public is encouraged to participate and show these vets we care and have their back. During the National Salute, VAs across the country invite individuals, veteran's groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities, and sports stars to participate in various activities at the VA medical centers. The activities and events include:
Special ward visits and Valentine distributions.
School essay contests.
Special recreation activities and veteran recognition programs.
Last year, schools, community groups, and youth organizations sent over 288,000 Valentines to VA medical centers and distributed them to veteran patients throughout the country. Additionally, more than 9,000 volunteers and 1,400 community organizations contributed to the activities and events that recognized hospitalized veterans.
It is also a week when the public is encouraged to volunteer at their local VA facility. We are fortunate to have a large VA facility in the region. The Butler VA Medical Center is located at 325 New Castle Road in Butler. The facility includes the 60-bed Sergeant Joseph George Kusick Community Living Center (CLC), 56-bed Domiciliary, and Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence (CWT/TR) programs. In addition, outpatient services are provided at the facility's main campus, the Abie Abraham VA Outpatient Clinic, and five county VA Outpatient Clinics. For more information on this facility, visit www.va.gov/butler-health-care/locations/butler-va-medical-center/.
Northern Connection magazine salutes all hospitalized veterans. We thank you for your dedication, and we wish you the best on your road to recovery.
Sources: www.checkiday.com/national-salute-to-veteran-patients-week,usveteransmagazine.com/2022/02/february-salute-veteran-patients-month/, news.va.gov/56493/volunteer-national-salute-veteran-patients-week/