Washington DC VA Medical Center
Months before the COVID-19 pandemic, Casey Trees planned to acknowledge the efforts of local nurses since the year 2020 is recognized as "The International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife" by the American Nurses Association.
Although the tree donation was planned months ago, the commemoration could not come at a greater time. According to Nurse Executive, Denise Boehm, RN, DC VA Medical Center nurses have been amazing during the pandemic. "I'm so honored to work with all of our nurses, especially those who have been on the front lines working tirelessly caring for Veterans with COVID-19, filling critical needs throughout the hospital and protecting vulnerable Veterans from the virus," said Boehm.
The DC VA Medical Center team is very familiar with Casey Trees which is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the tree canopy of Washington, D.C. In 2015, the organization donated and organized staff and community volunteers to plant 50 trees around the campus' perimeter in honor of the Medical Center's 50th anniversary.
Community support for the DC VA Medical Center has always been strong, but during the pandemic, support has been unwavering.
Dr. Agatha Seton (Wife of Dr. Philip Seton, Chief of ED) makes masks for employees to use when off station.
Bethesda Bagels restaurant donated bagels and toppings for staff members.
MLK donated 75 box lunches for team members.
Community Support During the Era of COVID-19
With the world focused on COVID-19, avoiding contracting and spreading the virus and adhering to government regulations, there are still health care teams, first responders and essential personnel working on the front lines of the pandemic. Their work has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by the DC-area community.
To show appreciation and to help in some way, many community organizations and individuals are utilizing their skills and talents, sharing their expertise or offering monetary support to help the COVID-19 effort. Some are making masks, gathering and donating personal protective equipment (PPE), preparing and delivering warm meals, staking appreciation signs, making cards of hope and offering words of encouragement on social media. Many have even returned to the workforce, especially those who are trained and licensed in the medical field.
Critical Care Physician Dr. Randall Wagner came out of retirement to join the DC VAMC staff during the COVID-19 era.
Gaye Broadway, who retired in October 2019 as the Director of Patient Safety, has recently returned to assist during the pandemic.
Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donations
The Medical Center, like others across the country, has tried to keep up with the worldwide demand for PPE. Many in the community have come forward with generous donations of PPE to ensure that staff members have what they need to care for Veterans:
- The Chinese Americans Supporting Hospitals (CASH) donated PPE including surgical masks, face shields and gowns.
- Nova Labs put its 3-D printers to use to make over 100 face shields for Washington DC VA Medical Center as well as other hospitals in the area. The Micro Center Store assisted in this major effort to ensure staff preparedness.
- The Hope Chinese School donated 2,000 surgical masks to the medical center.
- Staff caring for Veterans with COVID-19.
- Sun Companies, a recycling company in Beltsville, MD donated a large supply of N95 masks.
In honor of Military Appreciation Month, Life Preservation Initiative donated a large shipment of PPE including: N95 and surgical masks and isolation suits.
CASH (Chinese Americans Supporting Hospitals) made a generous donation of personal protective equipment including surgical masks, face shields and gowns.
Restaurants and Meal Deliveries
An overwhelming outpouring of support has come from individuals, patients and local restaurants in the community. The lunch, dinner and breakfast donations have helped boost employees' morale and let them know their hard work is valued. The meals also allow the staff members to stay on the job longer without having to leave the unit to pick up food.
- The MLK Deli in Washington, DC donated 75 box lunches to medical center team members.
- A former inpatient who recovered from the virus had her alumna association and friends, DC Divas and ExSSlA, bring lunch for the inpatient staff working on 4C and the Medical Intensive Care Unit.
- An anonymous DC VA Medical Center nurse who won a Chipotle raffle of 25 burritos, donated her winnings to inpatient care staff.
- Bethesda Bagels provided bagels and toppings for staff members
In the midst of challenging times, individuals, community groups and local organizations from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia have made strides to demonstrate that we are all in this together, and together, we will get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please note the lists of donations and acts of kindness and support are not complete. With the community’s generosity, the list of donors grows daily. If you or your organization is interested in making a donation to the DC VA Medical Center, please phone Voluntary Service, 202-745-8320.