JCMVAMC Holds Welcome Home Celebration for All Veterans - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System

 

JCMVAMC Holds Welcome Home Celebration for All Veterans

Brian Hawkins (right), JCMVAMC Director, thanks Vietnam Veteran Lionicio Perez for his service during a Welcome Home reception for Veterans.

Brian Hawkins (right), JCMVAMC Director, thanks Vietnam Veteran Lionicio Perez for his service during a Welcome Home reception for Veterans.

By Nathan Schaeffer
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On July 16, the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) held a Welcome Home Celebration for Veterans at the BOk Center in Tulsa.

JCMVAMC and community sponsors treated 257 Veterans to a Tulsa Talons arena football game, a free hot dog and drink and gift bag, which contained VA information and donated items from area businesses.

Leadership from JCMVAMC and the VA Regional Office, Muskogee Mayor John Tyler Hammons and community sponsors personally thanked Veterans for their service and passed out commemorative “Welcome Home” coins.

In recent years, JCMVAMC has held Welcome Home events for Veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND).  This year, JCMVAMC wanted to celebrate the service of all Veterans.

“Veterans from other conflicts haven’t really been formally welcomed home,” said Brian Hawkins, JCMVAMC Medical Center Director.  “We do a lot for our Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans, but what about our other Veterans, especially our Vietnam Veterans?  So we opened it up to welcome home all our Veterans and it’s proven to be very successful.  We had a tremendous response from the community and we think it will be bigger and better next year.”

Vietnam Veteran Lionicio Perez said the event meant a lot to him.

“As you know how the story goes, we were not really welcomed home and this is just an awesome thing to have to continue showing the support to us,” said Perez, a U.S. Army Veteran and employee at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic.  “We want to in turn show support to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and also all Veterans.  We’re here to show support all the way around because we’re brothers in arms.”

The event also gave VA a chance to educate Veterans about VA programs, services and benefits.

“It’s a great tool for VA to conduct outreach,” said Louis Gibson, OEF/OIF/OND Transitional Patient Advocate.  “While our returning troops go through Yellow Ribbon events, which puts out very good information from many groups and organizations including VA, this gives us another opportunity to get critical information to them.”

JCMVAMC wants to thank the Tulsa Talons, BOk Center and the following community sponsors who helped make the event a success: Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Glacier Confection, Neuro Restorative (Oklahoma), DirecTV, Gold’s Gym, The Great Seminole Nation, The Great Seminole Nation Color Guard, American Legion Auxiliary (Muskogee), Oklahoma State University Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Upward Bound.

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