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Department of Veterans Affairs  VA provides health care and benefits to our nation's Veterans.

http://www.va.gov/

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Coast Guard Veteran D.K. Adams. D.K. served from 1960 to 1963 during the Vietnam War.

D.K. joined the Coast Guard in 1960 and was stationed in the North Atlantic during the Vietnam War. He suffered blunt force trauma and three concussions, leading to his loss of vision over a 30-year period. D.K. has five percent vision in his right eye following 33 eye surgeries. He currently resides in Madeira Beach, Florida.

D.K. credits service dogs with helping him and other disabled Veterans through tough times. He is currently writing a book series, including three children books from the perspective of his service dog Ace. The profits from these books are donated to a service dog organization in D.K.’s community that helps Veterans by providing and training dogs.

D.K. has obtained adaptive assistive technology and technology training through the Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. This has helped him to follow his passions for writing and advocacy for service dogs.
Thank you for your service, D.K.!

With the use of virtual reality headsets, Veterans in Indiana were recently treated to a a "flightless" Honor Flight, a virtual tour of the war memorials in Washington D.C. The VA Northern Indiana Health Care System in Fort Wayne partnered with Honor Flight Northeast Indiana to give their #WWII, #KoreanWar, and #VietnamVeterans, many of whom are unable to fly due to a variety of reasons, this special virtual visit. #HonorFlight #HonoringVets

Veterans staying in the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center’s Transitional Living Center in Wichita, Kansas, recently received a special visit from Little Blessings Miniature Horse Therapy. The two miniature horses visited with Veteran patients. #HonoringVets

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Pruitt Rainey. Pruitt served in the Army from 2004 to 2008 during the war in Afghanistan.

Pruitt, is from North Carolina and excelled at wrestling in high school. Friends described him as a “gentle giant” and a “very dynamic person.” Pruitt aspired to become a teacher, as well as a wrestling coach, upon finishing his service in the armed forces.

Pruitt wasn’t able to pursue his ambitions of becoming a teacher. However, his ambitions inspired legislation in his home state of North Carolina. NC House Bill 767, better known as the “Brass to Class Act”, was named in Pruitt’s memory. The law supports military Veterans who were honorably discharged becoming teachers by using their years of military service as years of classroom experience. This allows Veterans to gain a more competitive salary in classrooms.

Pruitt was killed in action on July 13, 2008 in one of the deadliest attacks since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. His memory lives on in the minds of his friends and family.

We honor his service.

@vcbhcs's director greets #WWII Veteran Gordis Hetrick outside the new VA clinic in McAllen, Texas. The 100-year old Veteran was impressed with the new, red VA Ambassador jackets. Veterans across the VA's health care system will begin to see VA employees wearing the red jackets at our clinics. Please approach our Ambassadors if you need assistance or have a question about our services. #HonoringVets

On this day 73 years ago, five days after landing on Iwo Jima, Marines raised the U.S. flag on top of Mount Suribachi. Two flags were raised that day, with the second flag raising, photographed by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, becoming one of the most iconic images in American history. An image taken by Marine SSgt. Louis R. Lowery taken after the flag raising is the most widely circulated photograph of the first flag flown on Mt. Suribachi. 📷: SSgt Louis R. Lowery and Joe Rosenthal/AP.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Ralph Joseph Cavalieri. Ralph joined the Army in 1942 and served during World War II.

Ralph was a member of the 89th Infantry Division. The 89th participated in several major battles during World War II, including the assault on the Rhineland. The 89th is also responsible for liberating the concentration camp, Ohrdruf on April 4, 1945, the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany liberated by U.S. troops. Ralph received the Bronze Star for his service. He is now 101 years old with three children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Thank you for your service, Ralph!

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#SpitOut

The stage was where it was at during the VA St. Louis Health Care System #VAsGotTalent show. It was a great fun night with varieties of outstanding performances from our Veterans and VA community. #HonoringVets

#TBT It's only been a week since our National Salute to Veteran Patients week, but we wanted to share one more picture from the Memphis VA. All throughout the week at VA facilities across the country, community groups, businesses and schools took time to stop by their local VA to spend time with Veterans. It's something you can do all year long -- visit https://www.volunteer.va.gov/ to connect with your local VA and volunteer today. #HonoringVets

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Karen “Rif” Riffel. Karen served from 2001 to 2009.

Karen served with the 733rd Transportation Company and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After her service, Karen co-founded the nonprofit organization Veterans of America where she works as vice president. Veterans of America aims to raise national awareness of the issue of homelessness among Veterans. It raises funds to build “tiny homes” on wheels, hoping to “empower Veterans to have a place in the American dream they fought to defend for us.” The homes, made with re-purposed and eco-friendly material, help to create financial stability and independence and enable Veterans to reconnect with their communities for assistance.

Thank you for your service, Karen!

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Coast Guard Veteran Lois Bouton. Lois served from 1943 to 1945 during World War II.

In 1943, Lois joined the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, also known as SPARS for “Semper Paratus—Always Ready." After completing boot camp in Palm Springs, Florida, she went to San Francisco followed by Atlantic City, New Jersey, for radioman school where she learned to translate Morse code. She met her husband, a member of the Army, during her time in Atlantic City.

Lois spent over two years in the Coast Guard, during which she began writing letters to people overseas. After her service, she wrote to servicemen in the Korean War. Later as a first grade teacher, she taught her students to write letters to patients at Naval Hospital Great Lakes during the Vietnam War. She visited the Veterans there often, and they gave her the nickname “Coast Guard Lady.” When she retired, she started writing to isolated Coast Guard stations and eventually expanded to writing to Coast Guard members all across the country. She has now written over 40,000 letters and sends well over 1,000 cards on Coast Guard Day, August 4th, each year. Lois celebrated her 90th birthday in September 2009 and received hundreds of cards from Coast Guard members, both current and retired. When asked how she would like to be remembered by future generations, Lois responded, “As the Coast Guard Lady!” Thank you for your service, Lois!

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