By Jolienne Walters-Harvey, RN, PMHNP-BC
I have had the honor of working with our country’s veterans for more than 23 years at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Northport, New York. I have served in various roles as a nurse. When approached by Military Pathways to write about why I love working with veterans, I was thrilled.
I have, in recent years, shared my experiences and talked to my son’s school about my job. I’ve told the students how much I love working with veterans, and they shared why they love veterans, too.
Each month the children in his school make hand-written cards thanking the veterans for their service, and include some goodies that I bring to the Salvation Army residence on the hospital campus that provides shelter for homeless Veterans. Each month when I go to the school to pick up what the children have made, I am deeply moved by the generosity of others, and their commitment to teaching the children about the importance of veterans in our country.
Recently, the kindergarten children made a large, hand-made flip book titled: “A Veteran is….”After consideration of what to write in this blog I decided to share their work. I thought the children said it best in their 10 reasons. I had to add three of my own reasons, too!
1. A Veteran is a special American
2. A Veteran is Caring
3. A Veteran is a Hero
4. A Veteran is Brave
5. A Veteran is Cool
6. A Veteran is Fearless
7. A Veteran is Great
8. A Veteran is Helpful
9. A Veteran is Protective
10. A Veteran is Responsible
11. A Veteran is Smart*
12. A Veteran is Strong*
13. A Veteran is Trustworthy*
Over the years I have witnessed all 13 reasons why Veterans are so special. As a VA employee I know how special Veterans are, but what is most important is sharing their greatness with others.
*My three bonus reasons
Jolienne Walters-Harvey, PMHNP-BC, is a nurse practitioner in the Mental Health Clinic at the Northport VA Medical Center in Northport, New York.