Across the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, when staff strive to deliver timely and world-class health care, they are embodying the ideal of honoring those who served.
For one Bay Pines VA Healthcare System employee, serving Veterans is not just a noble concept: it’s a family affair.
Bay Pines VA Nurse Aide and Transportation Worker Chelbie Long said her commitment to serving runs deep.
“My mother works here in the Community Living Center (CLC) as a central nurse and my brother serves here, too, as a surgical nurse,” said Long.
Although the three of them serve in a medical capacity today, Long offered that the family’s biggest source of inspiration is their patriarch, a U.S. Navy World War II Veteran.
“My grandfather just turned 97 and is a resident at our CLC,” Long shared. “Service is so ingrained in my family; throughout our history, there has always been someone who’s served in the military.”
In addition to her grandfather, Long’s uncle and cousin also served and are both interred at the Bay Pines National Cemetery.
Long admits she never enlisted; however, offered she felt a different calling. “My way of giving back is to serve the Veterans in any way I can, during one of the most vulnerable times in their life.”
As part of her daily duties, Long often floats to various units throughout the hospital and is responsible for nursing operations as a nursing assistant. She takes that care a step further by listening to the stories of the Veterans in her care.
“The Veterans I care for are a community, so it takes commitment, integrity, and compassion to successfully care for them,” Long said. “My brothers and I grew up hearing about everything our Veterans have done to protect us, and it’s heartwarming to be able to take care of them now.”
Long is using her passion for helping Veterans to inspire her career progression and is continuing her education to become a nurse herself.
“I’m following in my mom’s footsteps,” Long shared. “I watched her come home every night and saw the level of compassion she had. After witnessing her commitment and listening to those stories as a child, it’s rewarding to belong to a team that displays the same devotion to giving back.”