VAPIHCS Veterans, In 1789 after a request by Congress, George Washington established the first Thanksgiving Day.
He said it would be a day on which we might count our blessings, as well as a day to express gratitude for the union of our country and the ability to establish a constitution for its governance. We carry on this tradition of giving thanks each Autumn, as we look towards the end of the year and at all we have accomplished.
This week as we celebrate Thanksgiving, an important thing to be thankful for is the drop in COVID-19 positivity rates due to increased vaccination. I am thankful for everyone who got vaccinated, and everyone who got their booster shots. Together, we can defeat this virus and keep our staff, our communities, and our veterans healthy.
We give thanks to our veterans: all the men and women who have worn the cloth of our nation, and who have sacrificed to make our lives better.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Service to others is a wonderful way to give thanks. At the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, we believe in serving others by providing safe, compassionate, quality care to our veterans. More importantly, we are not complacent. Here at VA, we won’t settle for “good enough.” That’s why we’re working hard to expand our care options for our veterans.
We have made significant progress this year in expanding veteran’s access to care. However, there is still more work to do. VAPIHCS is proud to announce the opening of our new Windward Community Based Outpatient Care (CBOC) center, which will see its first patient December 6, 2021. Additionally, on December 21, 2021, we will break ground on the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Healthcare Access project, or ALOHA for short. This is one more step on our path to providing more points of access to veterans so that they can continue to choose VA.
I encourage everyone to use this week to count their blessings and think of what they are thankful for. More importantly, I encourage everyone to demonstrate their gratitude by finding a way to be of service. The most meaningful way to give thanks for our own blessings is to take the time to share those blessings with others. Please serve with gratitude and humility. Please approach one another with respect. Our culture of compassion is changing how we interact with one another, which results in creating a more quality community.
Thank you for your service!
One Team, One Ohana!
Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE
Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System
VADM, MC, USN, (RET)
36th Surgeon General, USN