VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
VAGLAHS hosts Salute to Heroes Celebration
Los Angeles – A hero is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as a person admired for achievements and noble qualities, one who shows great courage. During these unprecedented times heroes have emerged from the most unexpected places. Delivery drivers, medical personnel, grocery store cashiers, sanitation workers, security guards and maintenance crews are just a few of the many professions that have played an integral role in preserving our quality of life as we navigate these trying times. These professions are full of dedicated people who, in the face of uncertainty, put their fears to the side and continue to serve during a time when they are need the most.
On May 13, 2020, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS), in collaboration with multiple government agencies and non-profit organizations, hosted a "Salute to Heroes" event on VAGLAHS' West Los Angeles campus as part of Public Service Recognition Week and National Police Week to honor the men and women who serve our Nation as federal, state, county and local government employees and recognize them for their hard work and dedication during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"During the COVID-19 crisis, every resident of Los Angeles is having an opportunity to witness the life-saving role of government and the courage and dedication of public service workers. My deep thanks go out to all government employees who are working tirelessly to protect every person in LA County," said Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Supervisor.
The event lasted for about 45 minutes but during that time it was packed with tributes. It began with a live performance of our National Anthem as the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard presented our Nation's flag. Then a procession of motorcycle riders from the American Legion led the way as patrol vehicles from multiple agencies followed behind on the access roads toward and in front of the main medical center with their emergency lights activated the whole way. As the procession rolled past, the Condor Squadron soared above the campus with fixed wing aircraft from the WWII era and city and county helicopters joined in.
"It touched my heart. It was really nice that they did all this and put together something that detail oriented," said Jeffrey Cantrell, DRT, Radiology Technologist, Emergency Department. "I've felt beat down since this pandemic started so to have something like this really reinvigorated me."
The Gary Sinise Foundation and Operation Gratitude were the non-profit organizations that donated meals and giveaways, respectively, to VAGLAHS staff working the night shift.
Participating government agencies included the VAGLAHS, UCLA Campus, LA, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Police Departments, LA County Sheriff's Department (LASD), LA City and County Fire Departments, California Highway Patrol, LA County Department of Mental Health, the National Guard, the 369th Air Force Recruiting Squadron, U.S. Army Recruitment, members of the Mayor's Office, Senator Kamala Harris' Office, and the LA County Board of Supervisors.
"It was our pleasure to host this event in collaboration with our city and county partners with whom we work every day," said Steven E. Braverman, MD, Director, VAGLAHS. "Our collective first responders and healthcare workers are on the front lines of the battle against this coronavirus pandemic, and we are appreciative of the recognition an event like this brings. This week's National Police Week and International Nurses' Week along with last week's Public Service Recognition Week make this the perfect time to say THANK YOU!"