VA Secretary’s Honor Award for I CARE
The Secretary’s Honor Award for I CARE recognizes exemplary employees who have demonstrated sustained performance or a specific act of noteworthy nature relative to the Department’s core values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence (I CARE). Acts potentially warranting recognition include going above and beyond normal practice in their role to care for and serve our Nation’s Veterans, their families, caregivers, survivors, or fellow employees.
The Veterans Health Administration recipients are Dr. Joel Elzweig, MD, Section Chief of Hospital Medicine, Anita (Nicki) Escott, Physician Assistant, in the Intensive Care Unit and Interventional Radiology, and Justin Joslin, an Emergency Department Registered Nurse, for demonstrating heroic efforts to save a life. They epitomize the I CARE values and are a stellar demonstration of VA’s principles for our Veterans, our organization, and our community. Justin Joslin accepted the 2023 VA Secretary Honor Award for I CARE on behalf of the White River Junction VA Medical Center.
Pictured (left to right): Dr. Steven Lieberman, Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Justin Joslin WRJVAMC Registered Nurse, and John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer.
The Veterans Benefits Administration recipient is Shawn Buermann, Account Manager, St. Paul Regional Office, for compiling feedback on opportunities for future enhancements to the Lender Scorecard, developing a tool to streamline the review process of more than 49,000 cases and creating a unique resource tool for Native American Direct Loans. Mr. Buermann’s efforts have truly been instrumental and have allowed for continued success in the delivery of all benefits.
Pictured (left to right): Erica Heath, VBA Director of Operations Compliance, Shawn Buermann, VBA Account Manager, and John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer.
The National Cemetery Administration recipients are the Administration and Interment Staff from the Riverside National Cemetery. Andrew Line, Craig Arsell, Carlos Candelario, David Childers, Francisco Jimenez, Insu Paek, Jonathan Ramirez Colato, Keith Allen, Keya Causey, Kyle Shook, Michaelangelo Maamo, Maria Ramirez, Miguel Rodriguez, Michael Serrano, Oliver Villalobos, Reginald Flexen, Robert Mandeville, Sadera Arrington, Steven Lopez, Terrance Grayson, William Stewart, and Adolpho Angulo, received the award for their efforts to go above and beyond in the performance of their duties. In 2022, the team completed over 8,300 interments and marker orders without any discrepancies and received numerous compliments. Keya Causey, Supervisory Administrative Specialist, accepted the 2023 VA Secretary Honor Award for I CARE on behalf of Riverside National Cemetery.
Pictured (left to right): Matthew Quinn, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Keya Causey, Supervisory Administrative Specialist, Keith Allen, Executive Director, and John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals recipients are members of the Inbound Operations Branch on the Paper File Team. Addie Sereal, Alexis Harton, Charde Pollitt, Charles Storks, Cyrus Leland, Ernest Asante, Jonathan Bland, Lashuna Cooper, Mardo Nunez, Regina (Lisa) Kirk, Terri Henderson, Terrell Williams, and Ytica Mondor received the award for their efforts in reducing the number of pending appeals from 16,000 to 2,006. Lashuna Cooper accepted the 2023 VA Secretary Honor Award for I CARE on behalf of the Inbound Operations Branch at the Board on the Paper File Team.
Pictured (left to right): Ken Arnold, Vice Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Lashuna Cooper, Board of Veterans’ Appeals Program Specialist, and John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer.
The Office of Information and Technology recipient is Nathan Tierney, Deputy Chief Information Officer and Chief People Officer, for improving the organizational change process, creating the first validated staffing models, establishing manpower requirements to support the PACT Act, and building the foundations of OIT’s Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program for Veterans. Mr. Tierney is exemplar and results driven with a strong commitment to VA’s mission of serving Veterans and other beneficiaries, and the I CARE principles.
Pictured (left to right): Kurt DelBene, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and CIO, Nathan Tierney, Deputy Chief Information Officer and Chief People Officer, and John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer.
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization recipient is Cordell Smith, Deputy Director of Acquisition Policy, for leveraging expertise in acquisition policy to advocate for developments in systems of equity for thousands of small businesses within Federal contracting. Mr. Smith’s expertise, work ethic, and superior performance are examples of his personal commitment to VA’s mission of serving Veterans and other beneficiaries and emulate the I CARE principles.
Pictured (left to right): Sharon Ridley, Executive Director, Cordell Smith, Deputy Director of Acquisition Policy, and John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer.