Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics (SORCC)
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Lessons in Gratitude from a VA Volunteer
Robert (WWII Veteran) and Jan (Volunteer)
This month’s volunteer in the spotlight is Jan Van Ek. Jan has been volunteering with the Volunteer Caregiver Support Program (VCSP) since June, 2013. Robert is her 82 year old, Korean War era Veteran friend who lives in Central Point. This is their story.
Jan grew up surrounded by Veterans. Her father served in the Navy during World War ll. Her parents often attended events at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and she recalls participating in stage shows where she sang and danced with other children and she was often asked to perform “I'm a Little Teapot" when she’d visit.
Jan’s mother used to volunteer in White City, when it was still a Domiciliary. She’d play cards and share pot lucks with the Veterans. Jan remembered her mother telling her that volunteering for the VA was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. When her mom developed cancer, and her time drew short, she told Jan that she wished she would have done more for others. Within a year of her mom’s passing, her father’s health began to decline. Before his death, he shared his stories of the war, and of bravery and sacrifice of his fellow soldiers.
Of course she felt great loss, but she held on to her mother’s inspiring words, and her father’s stories from the war. She decided that she would give back to those who gave so much for us. In 2013, Jan joined the Volunteer Caregiver Support Program and said she couldn’t have been happier to be matched with Robert, her Veteran friend.
She described Robert as funny, intelligent and perceptive. Robert like Jan, appreciates time with his volunteer friend. “Jan comes every Tuesday. We walk around the yard; play with the dogs and play cards. We play poker and talk.” Robert’s foster home caregiver shared that the “VCSP Program is very important to Robert. Jan’s visit are the highlight of his day!”
Jan now realizes what her mom meant when she said that her time as a VA volunteer was one of her most rewarding experiences. Jan feels the same way about her time spent with Robert and other Veterans. She is thankful to her parents, and to all Veterans who have served, but most of all, she is thankful to Robert, her Veteran friend.
Jan is self- employed as an artist, which allows her to set aside time to visit with Robert. Jan is an accomplished sculptor; her bronze sculptures can be seen in galleries in Scottsdale, Sedona, and Santa Fe, to name a few. For more information on Jan’s art go to: www.janvanek.com.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Volunteer Caregiver Support Program or Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics contact Jessica Majano at 541-830-7467
By Annelise Weston
Why should you get your flu shot?
Associate Director Barbara Oemckereceiving flu shot
Not getting the flu shot may lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death. Studies have shown that the flu is associated with an increase of heart attacks and stroke. In the United States alone, 36, 000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu. Did you know that 20-30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms?
Protect yourself and those you love, get a flu shot today. The VA SORCC has scheduled the following events to make getting your flu shot easy.
Saturday, December 3, 2016, “Holiday Flu Drive Thru” on Veterans Memorial Drive from 8 am to 1 pm
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, “Frosty Flu Fantasmic” in the lobby of 201A, from 10 am to 2 pm, join us for coffee, hot cocoa and your annual flu shot
Saturday, February 11, 2017, “Valentine’s Flu Drive Thru” on Veterans Memorial Drive from 8 am to 1pm
If you have already received you flu shot at another facility, please call our flu line with your name, social, and the date and place you received it so we can update your medical chart:
(541) 826-2111, extension 7493
Volunteer Helps Brighten the Lives of Veterans
The Volunteer Caregiver Support Program (VCSP) at the VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center matches older Veterans with volunteers who live within their community. The volunteers provide home visits and respite for their family caregivers. This program is highly impactful for the Veterans as well as for the volunteers.
Corinne Tremble “Corey” has been volunteering for more than two years with the VCSP Program. She is matched up with two WWII homebound Veterans. She shared that she decided to volunteer with the VA because her father was a Veteran and volunteering is her way of showing gratitude for the care he received at the VA. When asked about volunteering, Corey said “It makes my day!” She explained how we all need to give back to our Veterans, “Even if it’s just a little, to the men and women who sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom and rights.”
Each week, Corey takes a drive to see her special guys. They enjoy playing cards together, taking a walk outside, or just engaging in good conversation. When one of her Veterans was asked what he liked best about his visits with Corey, he exclaimed “Every time she comes for a visit is my favorite. That’s a nice girl there! Everything I learned about cards, I’ve learned from her.” Another Veteran’s daughter said “We love Corey! Dad really looks forward to their time together.”
Corey is just one of the 10 volunteers in the VCSP program who devotes a few hours a week to our treasured Veterans. “My life has been very blessed. …It feels good to give a little time to somebody who so appreciates a little company or distraction once in a while. I can’t tell you how many times my two veterans thank me for just being there…It makes my day too!”
VCSP Coordinator VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center
VA SORCC Need Volunteer Drivers
Do you like to drive? Do you like to help others? Then the VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics (VA SORCC) needs YOU! The VA SORCC is looking for dedicated community members to serve as volunteer drivers to transport Veterans to VA appointments and an opportunity for you to support the men and women who served our country. Volunteer drivers are also needed throughout the VA SORCC in the following catchment areas:
• Grants Pass
• Klamath Falls
• Cave Junction
In addition to benefitting from serving the needs of our Veterans, volunteer drivers receive free flu shots, access to training classes, and a free lunch. Hours vary, but you can choose the days and times to volunteer that work best for your schedule. To qualify as a volunteer driver, candidates must pass a background check and a physical, have a current Oregon driver’s license and private auto insurance, and complete a volunteer orientation and annual training. Community members who are interested in serving as a volunteer driver to support the needs of VA SORCC Veterans should contact Voluntary Service at (541) 830-7467, or via e-mail at Jessica.Wierleske@va.gov
Veterans Bond Through Caregiver Support Program
WWII Veteran Tony Kanclier and Jim Busano, VCSP Volunteer
The Volunteer Caregiver support Program (VCSP) at the VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics (VA SORCC) matches Volunteers with homebound Veterans who provide friendly visits, and periods of respite so that caregivers can get a break. This is a story about two upstanding Veterans who are connected by the program.
Anthony “Tony” Kanclier has a way of drawing people in with his colorful stories and “matter of fact” personality. He is a strong and independent person; a proud Marine. He does not show a lot of emotion, and has high expectations of the people around him. Even though he can no longer open every kitchen cabinet, he has everything labeled and can walk his aides through the process of cooking a delicious dinner. He takes pride in his healthy garden and loves to share his vegetables, canned tomatoes, and flowers with his neighbors.
Tony served two tours in the Marines from 1937-1945. He enlisted in 1937 and discharged in 1941; He re-enlisted when WWII broke out. A Purple Heart recipient, one can only imagine living through the experiences he had during WWII. He describes having his leg “blown off” while on board the Lexington Air Craft Carrier, but he is quick to tell you that if he had not been through that experience, he never would have met the beautiful Navy RN who took care of him, and later agreed to marry him. He exudes gratitude to this day to the Navy surgeon, Dr. Jones, who saved his leg, and eventually made it possible for him to walk with crutches. Tony went on to become a licensed carpenter.
Tony Kanclier, WWII Military Photo
Every day comes with its share of challenges when you are dealing with both the aging process and a significant service-connected disability. Tony spends most of his days sitting in the house he built over 70 years ago. He turns 100 this summer, but keeps as active as possible by going to the barbershop, gardening, canning, talking on his Ham Radio, and taking trips to the casino. Where he used to do all these things on his own, he now needs help.
This is where Jim comes in. Jim Bausano is Tony’s biggest fan. Jim has been visiting Tony for over 7 years. They share a bond that few understand or will ever have the chance to experience. Jim is no stranger to volunteering as he has worked in many different volunteer roles at the VA SORCC; visiting palliative care patients in the infirmary, and working at golf course and museum. However, he sees his most important role as Tony’s VCSP Volunteer. It is endearing to hear the way Jim talks about Tony and always holds him to the highest regard. Perhaps because Tony is part of the greatest generation, or perhaps because Tony is the age Jim’s father would be if he was still alive (Yes, that’s right, Jim is 80), when Jim walks into the room, it’s all about Tony.
Jim faithfully drives from Eagle Point to Ashland each week to visit Tony; without Jim and the help of the VA home and community-based programs, Tony would not be able to continue living independently. Living by yourself all these years, one has to learn how to be one’s own self- advocate. Tony still trains and manages all the aides who come in and out of his home. Tony has been known to let caregivers go from time to time who were not living up to his potential. His motto is “If you have a job to do, dog gonnet …I expect you to do it!” He has also forged strong bonds with the dedicated caregivers who have stuck with him. Overall, Tony has his trusted circle of caregivers, friends and neighbors looking out for him. Jim is, in a way, the thread between the VA and Tony, communicating with his VCSP Coordinator and HBPC to make sure Tony is getting the care he deserves and providing emotional support.
A few years ago, Jim was the behind-the-scenes guardian angel who escorted Tony on an Honor Flights trip to Washington D.C. Tony proudly displays his pictures and memorabilia from this trip. Jim was right by Tony’s side the entire trip helping to ensure everything went smoothly.
Tony Kanclier and Jim Bausano in Washington DC at the WWII Memorial
Jim is Tony’s biggest supporter in his goal to remain independent. Jim makes it known that he will continue visiting Tony until one of them passes on. I have no doubt that Jim will continue working with Tony as long as he can. It is heartwarming to know the depth of compassion that these two Veterans share. Tony inspires us to live our lives to the fullest, while Jim’s commitment to Tony challenges each of us to give the best we have to offer to our Veterans.
If you are interested in volunteering for the VCSP Program, contact Annelise Weston, LCSW at the VA SORCC (541)826-2111 x3935.
By Annelise Weston, LCSW
Crisis Hotline new "option 7"
Beginning June 3, when calling the VA SORCC at 541-826-2111 there will be an “option 7” on the phone tree, to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. You can also send a text message to 838255 or chat online. If a Veteran calls a direct number to the facility other than the main number, this option is not yet available. VA’s across the country will have access to "Option 7" by the end of the summer.
VA is dedicated to making sure all Veterans and their loved ones are aware of the Veterans Crisis Line. To reach as many Veterans as possible, VA is coordinating with communities and partner groups nationwide — including community-based organizations, Veterans Service Organizations, and local health care providers — to let Veterans and their loved ones know that support is available whenever, if ever, they need it.
One small act can make a difference. Show your support for Veterans and Service members who may be in crisis and spread the word. Since the Veterans Crisis Line began in 2007, they have answered over 2 million calls and initiated the dispatch of emergency services to callers in crisis over 56,000 times. The online chat service, added in 2009, has engaged in more than 267,000 chats. In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text messaging service to provide another avenue for Veterans to connect with confidential, round-the-clock support and has responded to more than 48,000 text.
VA SORCC Adaptive Sports Program
VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics employees teamed up with Adaptive Sports experts from Disabled Sports USA and Paradox Sports to put on a two-part Adaptive Rock Climbing clinic, February 3-4. Day one consisted of hands on training for the VA employees, mostly physical and recreational therapists, along with other Adaptive Sports enthusiasts from near and far—Portland, Lake Tahoe, D.C., Baltimore, Seattle—focusing on foundational skills and knowledge specific to rock climbing for individuals with physical disabilities, ranging from amputation to visual impairments, and from Traumatic Brain Injuries to deafness spectrum disorders, as well as others. Day two was all about applying the information gleaned from day one, and getting local Veterans on the rock wall, participating in an activity many of them never dreamed possible until now.
The impetus for this training was multifaceted, but really boiled down to one main factor: disabled Veterans who participate in adaptive sports do better in all aspects of life than their otherwise sedentary counterparts. Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive activities, such as Adaptive Rock Climbing. Moreover, studies have shown that significant improvements in psychological health, overall quality of life, mood states including tension, depression, anger, and vigor, and sports related competence. These factors highlight the potential impact that therapeutic adaptive sports and recreation programs potentially have for disabled combat Veterans in areas of quality of life, reduction of mood disturbances, and sports related competence www.va.gov/adaptivesports/.
If interested in learning more about Adaptive Sports at VA SORCC, please contact: Dr. Jeremiah Moore, PT, DPT, Chief of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Matt Becker, PT, DPT at email@example.com, or Wes Magness, Chief of Recreational Therapy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dr. Jeremiah Moore, Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service and Rhonda Haney, Public Affairs
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