Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
JCMVAMC Canteen Service Celebrates Two Prestigious Awards
The Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) recently won two prestigious awards, which were presented by VCS representatives during an awards ceremony at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa on June 21.
The Canteen at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic won Canteen of the Year, while the Canteen at the hospital in Muskogee won an award for the Highest Net Operating Income during Fiscal Year 2011 for the second straight year.
The Canteen of the Year award is based on outstanding retail and food accountability figures, all employee survey, high ratings by the medical center director and a “mystery shopping” visit from VCS personnel.
Jonathan Fagman, JCMVAMC’s Canteen Service Chief, said the award for the Tulsa Canteen was the first time a hybrid combination store, which offers retail, food and coffee, has won Canteen of the Year.
“I was in shock when they called my name,” said Fagman, who attended the VCS awards banquet in St. Charles, Mo. on May 24. “We’re in competition with canteens out there that are much larger than us. It’s amazing.”
Fagman said Mary Gist, who is the Assistant Chief of the JCMVAMC Canteen Service and operates the Tulsa Canteen, deserves the credit for its success.
“It’s quite the amazing achievement and it all goes to who I have there, Mary Gist,” said Fagman. “She is incredible. We communicate daily on what she needs and what needs to be brought up there. She also talks to her customers about what they want. Everybody there loves her. She’s one of the main reasons why we’ve done so great up there."
Along with winning an award for the Highest Net Operating Income for two straight years, the Muskogee VCS also won Canteen of the Year in 2010. Fagman said the secret to Muskogee’s success is both having the right products and the eight VCS employees who work in Muskogee.
“You have to have the right people in the right place and let things happen,” said Fagman. "Don’t over analyze or over manage it.”
VCS operates 184 canteens at VA medical centers across the country as a self-sustaining business at no cost to America's taxpayers. Every dollar of income generated by VCS is returned to the medical centers to help improve the quality of life for Veteran patients and to improve the quality of the workplace for VA employees. VCS also supports VA Rehabilitation Programs such as the Golden Age Games and Summer and Winter Sports Clinics throughout the year.