2016-2017 National Hospital Ambassador
This week is National Salute to Veteran Patients week. National Salute to Veteran Patients Week takes place the week of February 14 each year and the purpose of the program is to:
- Pay tribute and express appreciation to veterans,
- Increase community awareness of the role of the VA medical center,
- Encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and to become involved as volunteers.
This is our opportunity to say thank you to more than 98,000 veterans who are cared for every day in a VA facility. Actor and dedicated veterans’ advocate Lou Diamond Phillips is the Chairperson for the 2017 National Salute to Veterans Patients. Learn more here: http://www.volunteer.va.gov/NationalSaluteVeteranPatients.asp.
Although this is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, we can remember those in other medical facilities as well.
That’s Strictly for the Birds!
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and it might seem early to think about spring activities, but in just a few weeks grass will be growing, baby birds will be chirping and flowers will be blooming. What a wonderful time of year to look forward to! Speaking of birds, early in the season there still may not be enough natural food for birds, so a bird feeder would be a way to provide both food for them and enjoyment for patients/residents at the medical facility. Many appreciate the beauty of the colorful birds and watching them come to and go from feeders.
An Auxiliary can always purchase a bird feeder, but I encourage you to ask the wood-shop/shop teacher at a local high school to have students make bird feeders to donate to a medical facility. Another option would be to have students cut the pieces in wood-shop/shop and instruct patients/residents home on how to assemble them. The residents/patients could then paint or decorate the feeders to their liking.
Don’t forget the hummingbirds! Depending on your location, they may be looking for a feeder near you. Provide hummingbird feeders that attach to the outside window. Be sure the patients/residents or staff members are shown how to clean and refill them!
Provide birdseed and donate a bird identification book for the facility’s library. The patients/residents can use it to identify the species of birds eating at their feeders. Is there an Aviary nearby or a veterinarian that specializes in birds? Invite them to the facility to talk about the types of birds common in your area. As always, don’t forget to talk with the facility activities director before doing any of this!
In my March blog, I’ll share some ways to celebrate spring in medical facilities. Thank you for all you do for our hospitalized veterans!