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    79th TSC Shares Christmas Cheer with Veterans

    79th TSC Soldiers Share Christmas Cheer

    Photo By Sgt. Heather Doppke | Members of the 79th TSC visit Veterans at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical...... read more read more

    LONG BEACH, CA, UNITED STATES

    12.22.2017

    Story by Capt. Eric Smith 

    79th Theater Sustainment Command

    The SCI center provides highly specialized and customized medical, rehabilitative and chronic care treatment to those Veterans with a spinal cord injury or disorders. They service the newly injured as well as those with prior conditions with a goal of providing patients the highest degree of independence possible given their particular injury or condition.

    Volunteers from the unit took the time immediately before the Christmas holiday to visit the Veterans receiving care at the SCI and share some holiday cheer by singing Christmas songs, handing out Christmas cards, and conversing with the patients there. One of the Soldiers present was Master Sgt. Salvador Nieto, who brought two of his children, Ivan and Natalie, to participate as well. To Nieto, taking care of Veterans is vital.

    “I wanted my kids to get the experience that they don’t always get to see what a Veteran goes through in a hospital,” said Nieto. “I want them to participate in providing the support these Veterans need so they can see first hand and appreciate what Veterans go through."

    The group met at the 79th TSC headquarters in Los Alamitos, California to decorate cards for the Veterans and practice singing Christmas songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Jingle Bells.”

    Many of the unit members present agreed that bringing Soldiers and their children to connect with Veterans going through a challenging part of their lives is a unique and effective way to minister to those who have sacrificed for their country.

    “I feel that visits by military families provide a good connection to their past experiences. You can ask the right questions during the holidays because you have that shared background,” said Nieto.

    Richard Beam, a spokesperson for the Long Beach VA Medical Center, explained that the challenges Veterans in treatment face can be extreme.

    “They have to navigate the physical world; career issues, intimacy issues, family issues, health issues, housing issues to accommodate wheelchairs or other equipment, mobility issues in the community, financial issues and how to reengage in hobbies or things they enjoy in life that may not be options now due to their injury or illness,” said Beam.

    Beam believes that the holiday season can be especially difficult on these Veterans who are already coping with new challenges and reduced mobility.

    “As with the general population, the holiday season represents ideas of family, togetherness, doing things for others, gift giving, etc. All those things can pose challenges for the person or Veteran that can’t participate in the same way most of us do. In fact, it can exacerbate feelings of helplessness when under normal situations, you must rely on another person to assist you with even the basic aspects of life such as eating, dressing, and bathing,” said Beam.

    The VA Long Beach Healthcare System, of which Long Beach VA Medical Center is a part, provides comprehensive inpatient, outpatient, and extended care programs. It employs more than 2,200 full-time employees, and is the health care provider of choice for more than 50,000 Veterans. The Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center is one of 24 centers within the Department of Veterans Affairs and has 90 beds with an average length of stay of four months but stays can last for more than a year.

    Many attendees of the community outreach project expressed the desire to return to the VA to continue serving the Veteran population.

    “Without Veterans we don’t have the freedom that we have,” said Nieto, “It’s important to honor them every occasion that we can, especially around the holidays.”

    For more information about the 79th Theater Sustainment Command, visit www.usar.army.mil/79thTSC/ or www.facebook.com/79TSC/.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.22.2017
    Date Posted: 05.02.2018 13:50
    Story ID: 275420
    Location: LONG BEACH, CA, US 

    Web Views: 21
    Downloads: 0
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