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Celebrating the Heroes Among Us: Marion VA's Peer Support Specialists

Celebrating the Heroes Among Us: Marion VA's Peer Support Specialists

Today, we want to take a moment to recognize the incredible Peer Support Specialists who work tirelessly within the Marion VA to provide invaluable support to our Veteran community. 💙

Every year, Global Peer Support Celebration Day honors and celebrates the invaluable work of peer supporters. It is a special day dedicated to recognizing their significant contributions in assisting individuals with mental health issues, addictions, and trauma-related challenges.

We also want to celebrate the fact that we have the 3 national Peer Support Specialists of the year, from 2021 to 2023.

Jeffery Fischer was recognized as the facility peer of the year for FY 23. Jeffery has helped Veterans and his colleagues in Behavioral Health through his ability to calm and engage.  He leads many activities and groups “above and beyond” the call of duty.  His connections in the community encourage Veterans who were reluctant to seek care with the VA.  

Sam Hoekstra, Peer Support Specialist, shares that “I enjoy working with fellow Veterans with a mutual cause of bettering one another for the benefit of all Veterans.”

The rest of our amazing team do so much. Jonathan Hiltz assists with Whole Health in addition to his other duties with PCT, ICHMR and SUD and aided in the production of a national VHA peer support toolkit, along with being a presenter at our recent Veteran’s Mental Health Summit. 

Jonathan and Sam have been long term creators and supports of the annual Veteran’s Creative Arts Festival.   

Quest Nelson is an integral part of RRTP and its services and recently presented on a recovery panel for the Veteran’s Mental Health Summit in October.  Quest, along with our recreation therapist, Ethan Blumhorst attended a Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado this year.  

“It was uplifting to see Veterans with various disabilities, pushing themselves to develop new skills, I was in a crowd of people cheering on a paraplegic Veteran, who used adaptive climbing equipment to scale a climbing wall. I learned that we can't let our disabilities define us. We have to continue to push ourselves, challenge ourselves and overcome those challenges to live a fulfilling life.” – Quest Nelson (Veterans’ Winter Sport Clinic).

Darryl provides support for Veterans in Evansville and Owensboro where he aids in their recovery.

Our Peer Specialists help move Veterans along the continuum of recovery and inclusion into communities of his or her choosing.

This annual worldwide event takes place on the third Thursday in October.

The VA recognizes the significance of this role and has incorporated peer support specialists to assist our Veteran population.

If you collaborate with these Peer Specialists, take a moment to acknowledge their valuable contribution to the VA team.

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