4 Ways to Honor Veterans
Cone Health is privileged to have more than 300 veterans on our team. Veterans Day is a good opportunity to consider the difference these courageous individuals have made and to express our gratitude for their continued service.
But it’s also a good time to ask something of ourselves: What can we do – both as a health system and as individuals -- to be right here with our veterans? Here are four good places to start:
- Connect our servicemen and servicewomen to health care. It’s vital that our veterans have primary care providers who know their service history. Physicians can then identify risk factors early and intervene to get our veterans the mental and physical health services they need, says Dave Jenkins, leader of our Vet Net Employee Network Group. While some veterans experience PTSD, many others face service-related issues such as physical injuries, hearing loss, chemical exposure, repetitive motion injuries and pulmonary conditions. If we know about a veteran’s service, we can also help ensure access to appropriate health care benefits.
- Say thanks. It’s simple but incredibly important. Like many of you, when I see a vet in uniform or meet a veteran’s family member, I thank them for their service to our nation. It’s a small way we can let these brave men and women know they’re remembered, valued and appreciated. It’s true that actions speak louder than words, but heartfelt acknowledgments go a long way too.
- Learn. We talk routinely about the sacrifice veterans and their families make. But what does that actually look like on a daily basis? How does that feel? Unless we’ve served our country ourselves, it can be hard to envision. But we can build empathy by learning. Read a good book or watch a documentary. The book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand or the new movie Midway, which opened on Friday, are two strong possibilities, and there are many more out there.
- Serve. Finally, as we honor our veterans today, what better way to do that than to serve others? You can find opportunities to do that at the Volunteer Center of Greensboro, Volunteer Alamance or any number of local agencies and nonprofits in your community.
If there's a veteran with whom you're proud to work, be sure to let them know - especially today!
About the Author
Terry Akin is the chief executive officer of Cone Health.