Every year on Veterans Day, we reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of those men and women who have worn the cloth of this great nation. Countless ceremonies take place around the country as we honor our patriots who have protected our liberty by serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Consider this: Veterans Day is but one day. At the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Administration Medical Center and our VA outpatient clinics – where our common goal and mission is to treat and comfort those who entrust us with their health – Veterans Day is every day. More than 700 employees-many of whom are veterans themselves-work around the clock to provide a full spectrum of comprehensive patient-and family-centered care to our veterans. We also partner with civic leaders and community members in many ways to ensure that veterans receive the care and services they need and deserve.
We offer veterans an array of programs and services that improve their health and quality of life, whether it’s help with quitting smoking, losing weight, transitioning back into civilian life from the military, incarceration or homelessness, or tackling chronic illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure – we take care of veterans from their discharge from service until the end of their lives. VA also provides something else that no other non-VA health care system can: a place where veterans can embrace their journey to recovery with others who share similar military experiences and the military culture that shapes them.
We are privileged to live in the United States where the cost of freedom as we all know it is not free, but paid for by the sacrifices of the men and women who have worn the cloth of our nation. I want to thank our veterans for their service and their sacrifice in defending the freedom and liberty that we all enjoy.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning about VA health care benefits, please visit www.va.gov, or call the Altoona VA Medical Center at 877-626-2500 extension 7084.
(Judy A. Hayman, Ph.d., is acting director of the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Administration Medical Center in Altoona.)