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The Fourteener OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE VA EASTERN COLORADO HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

Welcome to the fourth edition of The Fourteener, the official digital newsletter for the Veterans of VA ECHCS. We are proud to serve YOU!

ECHCS Director Sallie Houser-Hanfelder, FACHE
Greetings! My name is Sallie Houser-Hanfelder and I am the Director of the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS). In this edition, we will explore your Golden Outpatient Clinic!
Golden Outpatient Clinic

Address: 1020 Johnson Road,

Golden, CO 80401

Phone: (303) 914-2680

Open Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and every other Saturday morning

Golden Outpatient Clinic by the numbers, FY2018

• 19,196 unique patients

• 1,885 of those are female Veterans

• 65,546 total outpatient visits

Lab, Physical therapy, Primary Care, Women's Health
What kinds of services are available at the Golden Clinic?
  • Primary Care
  • Specialty Care referrals to the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center
  • Audiology
  • Compensation & Pension
  • Group Therapy
  • Lab
  • Mental Health
  • MOVE Classes
  • Physical Therapy
  • Radiology
  • Telehealth: tele-anesthesia, tele-dermatology, tele-mental health, tele-MOVE classes, tele-orientation, tele-retinal, tele-sleep, tele-tobacco cessation services

Golden Clinic’s Fifth Birthday!

There is a special tree outside the Golden VA outpatient clinic that was donated and planted on Veterans Day nearly four years ago. The tree is flourishing, much like the clinic itself, which celebrated its fifth birthday on February 11.

At the birthday party, Nurse Manager Greg Kopp said, “We firmly planted our commitment to Veterans with the tree on November 11, 2015, and both are still growing and thriving today.”

The city of Golden sits at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains directly west of Denver. It’s a former gold rush town, and many Veterans enjoy that ruggedness. The Golden clinic serves around 20,000 Colorado Vets.

During the celebration, Kopp said, “In 2001, HBO produced a show called ‘Band of Brothers,’ ... It was that story that inspired me … I worked with other leaders, and we all wanted to build a band of brothers – a band of employees that really wanted to work together, that really felt the mission of the VA.”

Psychologist Dr. Beeta Homaifar agreed that Golden is special. “I’ve worked for the VA for about 15 years, in big medical centers and in outpatient clinics, and this is by far the best place I’ve ever worked. Golden is a lot more than a clinic. It’s a community.”

That sense of community extends beyond the staff and is felt by the Veterans who use the Golden clinic too. Army Veteran Wayne Williams said, “I have a great doctor here, Dr. Ellis and his staff. It’s more of a personal relationship here.”

After the ceremony concluded, Veterans and staff mingled and enjoyed finger food and cake. Facilities Operations Specialist Laura Hoyt talked about how nice it is to work at a clinic like this. “Golden – never a dull moment! Each one of us (employees) offers help and support to our Veterans. Seeing them smile or hearing some of the anecdotes they have to share is a reward in and of itself.”

Here’s to another five years at your friendly neighborhood Golden Clinic – may the bonds between staff members and Veterans continue to grow and flourish like that beautiful tree.

If you’d like to learn more about the Golden clinic, visit https://www.denver.va.gov/locations/Lakewood.asp.

By Jamie Mobley, Public Affairs Specialist

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Here's what's been happening around your VA!

Medal of Honor Ceremony at the PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom VA Clinic in Colorado Springs

In America, there is no greater acknowledgment of heroism in service than the Medal of Honor. On February 2, 2019, in partnership, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, The Center for American Values and the Medal of Honor Foundation worked together to make history and honor Private First Class Floyd K. Lindstrom with a Medal of Honor dedication ceremony.

Lindstrom was an Army Veteran whose heroic acts during World War II earned him the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1944. He is also the hero that the VA clinic in Colorado Springs is named for. Veterans are a close, incredibly proud yet humble community who band together as the brothers and sisters they are in support of one another, and this dedication ceremony was an example of that bond.

The clinic was bursting at the seams with Veterans. Minutes before the ceremony began, it was standing room only, and with one look around you could see the pride and the honor on the assembled Veteran’s faces. Patches, hats and pins decorated the audience of men and women who came to spend their Saturday honoring a man who was once described as a “one-man Army.”

James Kendig, an Army Veteran in attendance with his wife said, “The ceremony was very enjoyable. The service I receive here at this clinic is outstanding and the dedication, the medal in person, it is humbling.”

Lindstrom was a man deeply rooted in the Colorado Springs community and on Saturday, his community was fully behind him. In addition to the more than 250 guests in attendance were the current principal from Cheyenne Mountain High School, from where Lindstrom graduated in 1931, and Eagle Scouts from Troop 1, the troop he was a member of.

While the Medal of Honor that will be displayed in this clinic is not the medal originally awarded to Lindstrom, it is an authentic Medal of Honor. With its presence in the clinic, the World War II uniform and other memorabilia specific to that time in service, it will now signify a visual representation of Lindstrom.

VA ECHCS Deputy Director Duane Gill said, “We are proud to be able to have Lindstrom’s medal displayed here in your clinic and we will continue to ensure that the Veterans who choose to get their health care here know the history of the man this clinic is named for.”

None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of two Veterans, Mr. Keith LaMee, who kept the conversations going between the VA, the Center for American Values and Mr. Drew Dix, the President of the Medal of Honor Society and a Medal of Honor recipient himself.

When asked what it meant to LaMee to have the medal in the clinic, he said, “…after I knew the clinic would carry Floyd’s name I knew there should be a display case in it with items that would make a person stop and reflect on the man who put his fellow soldiers first. I collected several items that Floyd would have seen in his life. I made contact with a man in Italy that sent me soil/sand from the areas that Floyd did his actions to be awarded the Medal of Honor and where he made his last landing. I felt getting the Medal of Honor into it would be thing that would draw not only Veterans but all people to come and what to know more of Floyd Lindstrom.”

LaMee continued to say, “… when I had a chance, I asked Maj Drew Dix if we could get the ball rolling again. Together with Matt Albright from The Center For American Values we decided that 75th anniversary of Floyd being killed in action would be the best time to get all the parts together to present the Medal to the clinic.”

Army Veteran Lynn Walton summed up the ceremony best by saying, “This ceremony displayed lovely cohesion, comradery, and it was an honor to be here.”

Let every man, woman and child who walks through these doors know, they are in the presence of greatness, both in an individual, and in the history and pride that the Lindstrom name brings to the clinic. The Lindstrom display is the proof of the power in community and an example of the transformations that can be made by many.

By Brandy Morrison, Public Affairs Officer

National Salute to Veteran Patients Week!

February 11-15, 2019

The annual National Salute to Veteran Patients Week occurs during the week of Valentine's Day every year. The purpose of NSVPW is to:

  • pay tribute and express appreciation to Veterans
  • increase community awareness of the role of the VA medical center
  • encourage community members and groups to visit hospitalized Veterans
  • help citizens become acquainted with volunteer opportunities in the medical center and clinics

We were happy to welcome many guests and visitors, from local news anchors to Denver sports legends like Broncos alum Randy Gradishar and Denver Nuggets Alumni Mark Randall and Ervin Johnson. We also welcomed VSO Leaders and service members, local school children, and the Mrs. Colorado America court members. Our inpatient Veterans appreciated these visits very much!

Dave Aguilera from CBS Denver; Karen Morfitt and Jamie Leary from CBS Denver; Steve Kjonaas, State Commander for VFW Dept. of Colorado; Denver Nuggets Alumni Mark Randall and Ervin Johnson; Chief Master Sergeant Bryan Tuman and Colonel Robert Bearden from the 10th Air Base Wing at the Air Force Academy; Jeremy Hubbard and Aristea Brady from KDVR

Rocky Mountain Regional VAMC Gets a Vital Organ Donation

The Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) just received a very important organ donation. Technically, the donated organ was in place before the new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center (RMR VAMC) even opened its first surgical suite, but the official dedication did not take place until January 18. You can also see the donated organ any time you like—just pop into the RMR Chapel.

The American Legion Department of Colorado donated a new Hammond organ to ECHCS for the chapel through the Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors Program, created to provide “nonessentials,” items that help in wounded warriors’ recovery but aren’t paid for with government funds. The Legion collects donations for the program, finds out what items are needed, and delivers those items to military hospitals, warrior transition units, and VA medical centers like the new RMR.

Pat Smith, State Adjutant of the American Legion Department of Colorado said, “The program donates all kinds of stuff for Veterans. When this hospital was being built, they decided this would be a good opportunity to present an organ.”

Jerome O’Malley is the owner of O’Malley Music and helped the Legion find and install the perfect organ for the new medical center. This new Hammond model is nicknamed the ‘King of Instruments’ and as O’Malley said, “This organ is top of the line. The Hammond B3 became the de facto standard for churches, rock bands, everything. This model doesn’t need pipes—they spent a lot of time trying to duplicate that sound digitally and they’ve done an incredible job. The original B3 organ weighed about 300 pounds, and this is a lot lighter. There’s no maintenance, you don’t have to keep oiling it like the older models. It will also never go out of tune.”

Voluntary Services Chief Dan Warvi said the organ is not the only thing the American Legion has donated to the Veterans of ECHCS. “Operation Comfort Warriors has donated a new ping pong table for the PTSD unit, a number of baby diaper gift bags and gift cards for our Women Veterans Health Program’s quarterly baby showers, a number of clothing items for our Homeless Program, socks, underwear, warm jackets. Every day the Legion and the Auxiliary is contributing to the volunteer group here, generous gifts, lots to time…they make a remarkable difference in our Veterans’ lives.”

Chaplain Ben George echoed Warvi’s praise of the Legion, and said, “we are thankful to the American Legion for donating this wonderful organ and I’m sure it will go to good use to help our Veterans.”

If you’d like to learn more about the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors Program, visit https://www.legion.org/operationcomfortwarriors/about.

By Jamie Mobley, Public Affairs Specialist

Veterans can directly schedule appointments in these clinics at RMR VAMC

VA ECHCS partners with Adaptive Adventures

*Belay on!

“This is my first time doing this. I’ve never climbed like this.” With these words, Army Veteran Justin King reached up, gained purchase and experienced übergrippen: the intense feeling of relief when finding a jug or good hand hold after a difficult crux. Übergrippen may be just a word that was made up by the owners of the so-named Denver, Colorado indoor climbing gym, but the feeling is very real for Veterans in the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s (ECHCS) Recreational Therapy group.

The Veterans were at the climbing crag on a chilly night in mid-December with ECHCS Recreational Therapist Sarah El Hage and Craig DeMartino, the Climbing Manager from Adaptive Adventures, a non-profit organization that partners with VA.

Adaptive Adventures’ mission is to provide progressive outdoor sports opportunities to improve quality of life for children, adults and Veterans with physical disabilities and their families. The Lakewood-based organization was founded in 1999 by two people with physical disabilities who saw a need for adventure and sports opportunities for people with physical disabilities. Since then, they have served over 100,000 participants and their families and become an important partner for the VA.

“We love Adaptive Adventures and what they do to help our Veterans,” said El Hage. “VA needs partners like this to get our Veterans out of the hospital setting and into their communities, having new experiences and living their lives. Adaptive Adventures shows our Veterans that they can still do things they didn’t think would be possible after their injuries.”

DeMartino said, “for me, working with Adaptive Adventures is really a dream job in that it puts me into a world I really didn't know about. The Veterans I get to meet and know, are a constant reminder of how strong the human spirit can be. For a lot of these Vets, the things they are dealing with can really be hard to overcome. With my background of trauma and climbing, I like to be a voice of reason and psych to get them back to a new state of ‘normal’ which is different for each athlete I work with. That’s what makes my job so great, we are always problem solving whether it’s an adaptation needed to climb, or a better attitude, we get to figure it out together.”

While Veterans from the rec therapy group climbed different routes on the walls, DeMartino and El Hage stood by offering advice, cheers and encouragement to the hard-working group. Most of the Veterans had never climbed before, and some were more comfortable than others.

About tonight and the rest of his rec therapy program, King said, “I have been getting out of my comfort zone. I don’t even know what a comfort zone is anymore.”

Right after making this statement, King painstakingly completed a climb on a difficult section, then belayed down to the ground to rest flat on his back, out of breath with shaking legs while the group cheered.

DeMartino talked about building relationships with the Veterans in ECHCS rec therapy. He said, “I try to listen to what each Vet is saying to me, either with their words, or actions. I then try to meet them where they are and show them how climbing helped me. The simple movement and problem solving is what saved me and got my head back to a healthy spot. If I can help them get to a spot where they are dealing with stress and the stuff that’s messing them up in a positive way such as climbing, then everyone wins.”

It’s this mindset that makes DeMartino and Adaptive Adventures such great partners for VA and the Veterans of ECHCS. Learn more about the Adaptive Adventures organization at www.adaptiveadventures.org. To learn more about VA’s Recreation Therapy Service, please visitwww.prosthetics.va.gov/rectherapy/index.asp.

**Belay off!

*Belay on is called by the person holding the end of the climbing rope once he or she has applied pressure that will anchor the climber so that he or she does not fall off the climbing wall.

**Belay off is called by the person holding the end of the climbing rope before he or she has let go of the pressure that anchors the climber.

By Jamie Mobley, Public Affairs Specialist

Where will your VA go next?

Have memorabilia to share?

Throughout the concourse of the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora, we are showcasing our Veterans and their service to our country. The Concourse Art Committee is working with the community, employees and our Veterans to showcase various military memorabilia in 9 display cases along the concourse. In these cases, we plan to display items from all military branches/eras and family member keepsakes.

If you are interested in either donating or loaning items to be displayed, please contact the RMR Concourse Art Committee at:

VHAECHRMRArtCommittee@va.gov

Keep up with the latest happenings all around ECHCS!

Created By
Jamie Mobley
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