Vettes to Vets at Bedford VA Hospital

 

It’s time for the 16th Annual Vettes to Vets show!  Free and open to the public. Be here to wave over 600 Corvettes onto hospital grounds as they salute our Veterans.  Each Corvette brings a donation of comfort items for the inpatient Veterans.  Cookout, music, fun! Event Volunteers always welcome, call Bedford VA Voluntary Service at 781-687-3076.  We hope to see you there!  

Vettes to Vets ~ Sunday, September 29 at the Bedford VA

 

Native American Powwow at the Bedford VA Hospital This Weekend

The Thirty-Seventh Annual Bedford Powwow, a Native American cultural event, is being held on the grounds of the Bedford VA Hospital, at 200 Spring Rd., Bedford MA. Everyone is invited, and admission is free to this family-oriented event. It’s called a Powwow, which is a word that has come to mean ‘a gathering of the people.’

Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Bedford VA

Join us for a spectacular day celebrating 90 years of serving Veterans and the partnerships that make it possible! Bring a picnic lunch, meet the new director, hear the US Navy Band, Barbershop quartets, Minutemen and Dixie Band! And there will be horses:

See vintage “Model A” cars, and so much more! Our day will begin with a parade/walk around the campus to salute our Veterans past, present and future. See flyer for details!

Bedford Green: Veterans’ Housing, a Promise Fulfilled

By Lee Vorderer

By the middle of August, 69 Veterans (men and women) aged 55 and above, many of whom have been homeless for years, will have new homes on Springs Road, across the street from the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA). The new residence, Bedford Green, is a project developed by Peabody Properties in collaboration with the Veterans Administration.  The doors opened in June, welcoming the first 40 men and women who will call Bedford home. On July 11, Elizabeth Collins, Senior Project Director of Peabody Properties, and Karen Acerra-Williams, Acting Director of the Bedford VA, held a media open house to tour the new building, and to introduce some of the men and women who now live at this new facility located across the street from the VA’s main campus. A project timeline

As part of President Obama’s national initiative in 2011 to end homelessness among Veterans, the Veterans Administration issued a Request for Proposals to develop residential units as permanent housing.  In November of that year, Bedford VA officials learned that the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital was one of 23 sites chosen nationwide to create permanent residential units for veterans. In 2013, Peabody Properties, a for-profit company that has developed and manages more that 10,000 units of affordable housing in the northeast, was awarded the contract to develop the housing.

Peabody Properties Participates in Sixth Annual VA2K Walk and Roll at Bedford VA

Submitted by Peabody Properties, Inc.

A group of Peabody Properties, Inc. employees who dubbed themselves “Team Steps for our Vets” were among the 150 walkers and wheelchair users— including community members, veterans and Veterans Affairs employees — who participated in the sixth annual VA2K Walk and Roll. The 1.2 mile walk, held at various locations across the country, raises funds and awareness for homeless veterans. This year’s Massachusetts walk was held on the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital campus in Bedford. Donations raised will support homeless veterans moving into the nearly completed Bedford Green Apartments. Managed by Peabody Properties, – a full-service real estate firm based in Braintree, Massachusetts – Bedford Green Apartments is a furnished, supportive housing community for formerly homeless and at-risk veterans, ages 55 and older.

Celebrating Women’s History Month at the Bedford VA: The Angel of Veterans: Edith Nourse Rogers

By Lee Vorderer

As part of its celebration of Women’s History Month, the Bedford Veteran’s Hospital gave the community a chance to get to know its namesake, Edith Nourse Rogers.  Dr. Patricia Fontaine, Clinical Associate Professor at UMass Lowell, shared her passion for Mrs. Rogers,  discussing her background, her many accomplishments, and the historical context in which she worked. Born in Maine in 1881 and moving to Lawrence to marry John Jacob Rogers in 1907, Edith Nourse Rogers championed causes for veterans throughout her long career.  After assuming her husband’s seat in Congress upon his death, she ran herself in 1925 and began a 35 year career promoting the needs of veterans and finding government solutions to the problems they faced.  Her attention went beyond veterans, too:  She was the first Republican to speak against Hitler on the floor of Congress;  in 1939, she co-sponsored a bill to raise the quota of Jewish families and children immigrating to the US; and she  began the first air mail service between North and South America. As “The Veteran’s Legislator”  in Congress, Congresswoman Rogers crafted and promoted the GI Bill (1944),  the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) Act (1942), supported soldiers marching on Washington to demand pay that they had been promised but did not receive, and fostered the promotion of  Camp Devens to Fort Devens, securing funding to build its world class hospital as well as contracts from the Government for many other projects. Veterans from across the Country wrote to her to seek help with problems related to the military, and she was known nationwide as someone you could talk with.

A New Geriatric Psychiatric Unit at the Bedford VA Medical Center

By Lee Vorderer

On Tuesday, February 23, the doors opened on the only geriatric psychiatry unit for aging Veterans in the New England area.   Part of the Edith Nourse Rogers Veterans Hospital here in Bedford, this 15-bed unit will respond to behavioral health and mental health needs of aging Veterans. Informed by its mission to enable Veterans to stay where they want to be – in the community with their families, the Geri-Psychiatric unit is the result of an idea generated more than 15 years ago and represents four years of Renaissance and planning by visionary leaders at the hospital including Larry Herz, MD; Maha Khodeir, MD; Peter Morin, MD and Hospital Director Christine Croteau. What was a section of the Alzheimer’s Unit at the hospital has been redesigned and transformed by engineers, carpenters, nurses and clinicians, many of whom are Veterans who work at the hospital. With the Bedford VA’s commitment to interdisciplinary services and innovation informed by its own research and clinical practice, the unit is set to become the source of new service designs and treatment for the large and challenging population of aging Veterans throughout New England.

Training Exercise Today at Bedford VA Medical Center Campus on Springs Road

Submitted by the Bedford VA Medical Center
Active Threat Training, Bedford VA 12/16

On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, the Bedford VA Police, in conjunction with the City of Bedford and City of Billerica Police Departments, will be conducting an Active Threat training exercise at the Bedford VA campus. On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, the Bedford VA Police, in conjunction with the City of Bedford and City of Billerica Police Departments, will be conducting an Active Threat training exercise at the Bedford VA campus. Primarily, all activity will be limited to non-clinical areas in building one.  The areas within the building are utilized by Human Resources and facility leadership.  Please be advised that you will likely observe a significant police presence in the area such as marked patrol vehicles and/or officers in uniform entering or exiting the building. Over the past several years, the Bedford VA police have conducted extensive training through live fire, simmunitions and simulator based environments on how to properly respond to an “Active Threat/Shooter” type incident and are well prepared to respond appropriately. However, we strive for continuous improvement and seek every opportunity to increase our knowledge and abilities.

Applications Now Underway for New VA Housing at Bedford Green

By Lee Vorderer

There was a lot of enthusiasm in the meeting room where Veterans came to learn about Bedford Green, the new 69-apartment residence on the campus of the Bedford VA. The Veterans asked questions about the apartments and their layout, the application process, eligibility, parking, pet policies, and wrap-around services. They heard directly from those who will be managing those aspects of Bedford Green. Clearly, Bedford Green offers something that Veterans want and need. Although the units won’t be available until sometime in spring 2016, the application process includes completing paperwork, income verification, and an individual interview, so it takes some time.  The goal is for men and women Veterans to begin moving in as soon as the units are ready. 

Each of the 69 units includes a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and open living/dining space and will be furnished and provided with linens and kitchen equipment.

Over 500 Corvettes Pay Tribute to Bedford VA’s Veterans

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

The Oval at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) was filled to capacity with more than 575 Corvettes from across New England,  the country and Canada during the 12th annual Vettes to Vets rally. The event began with an impressive parade that stretched from Billerica to the Bedford VA, where hundreds of Corvettes parked in formation on the hospital grounds. The Dan Lawson Band provided live music as members of the Air Force Association served hot dogs and hamburgers.  Special acknowledgment and gratitude was expressed to the Gold Star Mothers in attendance at the event, which was held on Sunday, September 27th, Gold Star Mother’s Day. Veterans enjoyed casting their ballots for the “Veterans Choice” trophy which was awarded to Stan Baukus and his 1954 orange full custom Corvette. Visitors to Bedford VA had the opportunity enjoy the Corvettes and learn more about the services Bedford VA offers to our Veterans.

12th Annual ‘Vettes to Vets Honors Veterans at Bedford VA on Sunday, September 27

Robert Cook,  Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

When a caravan of Corvettes makes their way to the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) on Sept. 27, their owners will come together for an amazing day of camaraderie, music, food and fun to support our Veterans. Karen Blandini, the chairperson ofVettes to Vets, said what was once an event that attracted 25 Corvette owners 12 years ago, has grown into a massive Corvette rally with drivers from all over New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Canada. She said the event had 537 Corvettes in 2014, including her 2011 Grand Sport Convertible Corvette. “Not all of them are Veterans, but they all come to support our Veterans,” said Blandini.

Lowell/Bedford VA Stand Down Goes the Distance to End Veteran Homelessness

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

The City of Lowell, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)  partnered to co-host Stand Down 2015, an event that provides supplies and services to homeless Veterans.  “Stand Downs” are collaborative events held nationally, coordinated between the VA and community-based homeless service providers. Some 300 Veterans attended the Lowell Stand Down which began with a ceremony on the steps of  the Lowell Memorial Auditorium with the U. Mass ROTC Color Guard and the Lowell High School Singers’ rendition of the National Anthem. Click each image below to see it at its full width

Mayor Rodney Elliot introduced dignitaries and commended the Bedford VA, city officials and the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center for hosting the Stand Down in Lowell, and encouraged the nation to make Veterans the highest priority. “We should want to serve our Veterans after they have done so much for us,” Elliot said. Elliot noted that great strides have been made to end Veteran homelessness in Lowell and in the nation and called for even more to be done.

Bedford VA’s VITAL Program Helps Student Veterans Succeed and Lead

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Bedford VA

Bedford VA’s Veterans Integrations to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program is addressing Veterans’ needs for specialized support at several Massachusetts colleges and universities, including Middlesex Community College. For Veterans who have left the battlefield and entered the classroom, college can be an especially stressful time adjusting to new routines, class schedules and new environments. Without proper resources and support, dealing with issues like reintegration, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression can cause student Veterans to drop out of school at a much higher rate than other students. VITAL is a national VA health initiative helping returning Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans transition to and succeed in college. The program also serves Persian Gulf War and Vietnam War-era Veterans and is available to all Veterans.

Bedford VA Veterans Win Medals and Ribbons at National Veterans Golden Age Games

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Bedford VAMC

Three Veterans from the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) won multiple gold medals and ribbons at the National Veterans Golden Age Games this month. Congratulations to all of our Golden Age Games Veterans! The National Veterans Golden Age Games is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.  The games are also the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and personal investment in physical fitness and wellness. The VA challenges and encourages senior Veterans to be proactive in embracing a healthier lifestyle.

4th Annual Veteran’s Day at the Woburn Sportsmen’s Association

Submitted by Dick Milewski for the Woburn Sportsmen’s Association

A group of veterans from the Edith Nourse Rogers Medical Center (Bedford VAMC) visited  the Woburn Sportsmen’s Association on Saturday, August 22nd. Club volunteers assisted them in trying their hand at archery, shooting muzzle loaders and cowboy single-action revolvers, and finally shooting clay targets at the trap range.  The attending Veterans tried all events, and really had a good time with them. The club also prepared a cookout for the participants, which everyone enjoyed.  WSA wants to acknowledge the generous donations of meat and produce made by Whole Foods Market of Bedford, and Wilson Farm of Lexington. The Woburn Sportsmen’s Association is located on Middlesex Turnpike in Bedford.

Volunteers Rewarded with Veterans’ Smiles and Gratitude at Bedford VA

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Bob Martin, Sue Gilbert-Sexton and Miriam Daley are just three of the hundreds of volunteers who make a positive difference in the lives of Veterans at the Bedford VA Medical Center every day. Their reward is knowing they bring joy to those who have served, and that they are making a difference in Veterans’ lives. Sue Gilbert Sexton

Sue Gilbert-Sexton said she became a volunteer when her father was an outpatient at the Bedford VA in 2008. After seeing how much she could offer the Veterans, she began volunteering 10 hours per week. After her father, a Marine Veteran, passed away in 2010, she continued to volunteer with the BINGO games on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Bedford’s Dr. Dan Berlowitz Receives the VA’s Highest Honor for Health Researchers

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Dr. Dan Berlowitz never stops thinking of ways he can improve the overall health of Veterans here at the Bedford VA Medical Center as well as VA system wide. His curiosity, combined with his dedication to this goal, recently resulted in his being awarded the 2015 Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research at a ceremony in Philadelphia. The Under Secretary’s Award is the highest honor a VA health services researcher may receive. Dr. Berlowitz, who has served as the Bedford VA’s Acting Chief of Staff for the past three years, is modest about this recognition. But he is also proud of the research he has undertaken that has improved Veterans health care.

Bedford VA to Host Free Ricky Lee “Music-4-R-Vets” Concert on Saturday, August 8

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Country music star Ricky Lee will bring his Music-4-R-Vets show to the Bedford VA campus on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 1:30 p.m. as part of his ongoing efforts to show Veterans the healing power of music. The show will be open to all Veterans and the public. The outdoor concert will be held at the Oval, (follow event signs), of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA). Lee has been playing at VA hospitals, American Legion Halls and Veterans of Foreign War posts nationwide for the past several months.

CEDAC Partners with VA To Fund “Bedford Green” Supportive Housing for Homeless Veterans

By Lee Vorderer

The Massachusetts Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) will administer funds from the state’s Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund (HPSTF), joining funding through Veterans’ Administration (VA) to pay for Bedford Green, a new project on the grounds of the Edith Nourse Rogers Veteran’s Medical Center in Bedford (Bedford VAMC). “We’re tremendously proud to be taking a lead role in the development of the Bedford Green Apartments, which will provide not just housing, but a supportive environment and services for a critically underserved community,” said Roger Herzog, CEDAC’s Executive Director.  “This development will put us one step closer to the goal established by both the state and federal governments that no veteran will be without housing and services.”

Multiple state local, and federal agencies are partnering to develop Bedford Green, , which is estimated to cost $20 million, began at the end of March and is expected to be completed by April 2016.  Upon completion, the project is intended to house nearly 69 veterans and provide dozens more with supportive services. The building will meet LEED gold environmental standards, and it will provide permanent, supportive housing for 69 homeless veterans. Supportive services from the VA Medical Center will include on site case workers who will connect these veterans to the full range of physical and mental health services offered at the VA, an onsite peer counselor who will be available to offer guidance and support, and an on-site van and driver to help veterans connect to the many opportunities that the Town of Bedford offers. In addition to housing, Bedford Green will provide supportive services to dozens of additional veterans through its connections to the Bedford VAMC.

Vets Learn How to Cope by Creating Beautiful Works of Art

 
By Robert M. Cook, Public Affairs Officer at the Bedford VA Medical Center

Margaret Klessens has always known she is pretty “crafty” when it comes to making things like purses for her daughter, but the World War II-era Veteran never knew she could match Van Gogh brush for brush. In fact, Klessens was so good after she enrolled in the Open Studio Art Therapy program at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) last fall that her rendition of Van Gogh’s “Poppies” was chosen for the Bedford VA’s new greeting card, according to Nadene Landry, the program’s Creative Arts Therapist. Klessens’ painting along with another Van Gogh rendition of “Inspired by a Young Girl in White” and other paintings created by fellow Veterans are currently on display in the Canteen.  Landry said Klessens was “excited” “grateful and humble” after she learned that Bedford VA’s Director Christine Croteau selected “Poppies” for the new greeting card. “Margaret is probably one of the nicest women I have ever met,” said Landry. “She swims as often as she can.”

Klessens said she was inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Field,” that was written by Lt. Col.

TED Truck Brings the Latest in Veterans’ Health Care Technology to Bedford VA on July 16

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Veterans and their health care providers are invited to board the TED truck this Thursday, July 16, at the Bedford VA and see firsthand how they can access face to face consultations with their physicians closer to home. Anita Bonna, the Bedford VA’s Telehealth coordinator, said the Telehealth Education Delivered truck will be at the Bedford VA Oval from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some of Bedford VA’s clinical technicians and home Telehealth RN’s will staff the truck along with a Global Med representative. Bonna said Veterans can have free blood pressure screenings and register for care at a My HealtheVet table outside of the 34-foot truck. Veterans can also experience hands on demonstrations of the new Clinical Video Telehealth technology that is designed to give Veterans more convenient and accessible care. She explained the Telehealth program will be good for Veterans who may not be able to travel long distances to and from the Bedford VA to meet with their doctor.

Bedford Green Partnerships Will Help to End Veteran Homelessness

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

Edith Nourse Rogers was sworn in as the Congresswoman representing Bedford and the Fifth District of Massachusetts on June 30, 1925. Ninety years later on June 29, 2015 the cornerstone for Bedford Green, a public private partnership utilizing federal and state resources, was dedicated on the grounds of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, also known as the Bedford VA Medical Center. Among the dignitaries attending the ceremonies were several from Bedford, including Town Manager Rick Reed and Selectman Margot Fleischman along with Bedford’s State Representative Ken Gordon and Col. Michael A. Vogel, Commander of the 66th Air Base Group at Hanscom Field. Reed noted,  “The Town of Bedford looks forward to the successful completion of this Veterans Administration project.  It is an innovative use of excess federal land for the purpose of supplying housing our nation’s veterans in need.”

The inspiring ceremony included participation by Medical Center volunteers, staff and leadership; representatives of the public/private coalition that is bringing Bedford Green to life; Francisco Ureña, Massachusetts’ Secretary for Veterans’ Services; and Congressman Seth Moulton.

Formerly Homeless Veteran Walks Long Road to Help Others

Submitted by Robert M. Cook for the Bedford VA

When Will Hatley gets real with homeless Veterans who come to the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) for help, he tends to get their attention in ways that social workers cannot. He has walked in their shoes many times without succumbing to the despair that drives some Veterans to commit suicide. Hatley will share his struggle to overcome homelessness with a gathering of VA staff members, political dignitaries, and community members when the Bedford Green cornerstone is placed on June 29 at 1 p.m. at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford. When completed by the developer Peabody Properties, Veterans ages 55 and up will be able to live in one of 70 single bedroom units with access to case managers, medical staff and counseling at the Bedford VA. For the past three years, Hatley has worked as an employment and vocational rehabilitation specialist who helps displaced Veterans find jobs by matching their skill sets with prospective employers.

VA Volunteers Give More Than Time

By Meredith McCulloch

There are many people to admire at the Bedford Veterans Administration hospital. First of all the men and women who were willing to put their lives on the line to defend our country, and now the nearly 700 regular volunteers who give their time to support our hospitalized veterans. Not all the veterans were in combat situations, of course, but they were all trained and ready to do whatever the country called upon them to do.Veterans from World War II to the present conflicts in the Middle East make the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veteran Hospital the home base for their care. The hospital has 200 beds in-house plus 100 more beds in an Alzheimer’s unit. The VA volunteers say thank you to the veterans by donating their time.