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Deadwyler column: Serving those who have served

By Hugh Deadwyler
For the Salisbury Post
Veterans are all a special breed of people.
From basic training that molds a disparate group of individuals into a disciplined and fit unit to each individual’s specific duty assignment, the military leaves its stamp on every veteran.
I got into serving veterans, as a veteran outpatient myself, this way.
After being treated from a long slide into depression I was finally released from the hospital.
Lynn Bolick , my social worker, told me in 2003, “You’re not going to lie around all day with the sheet covering your head; you’re going to work at the VA.”
I gulped, and asked, “When Lynn?”
She said, “Tomorrow. I’ve got it all lined up with Holly Cormack, the incentive therapy job supervisor at the VA hospital.”
I have a very cool job. It’s mostly patient transport, pushing the patients from their wards to our physical rehab clinic and then wheeling them back again. I get to meet and know a lot of really neat older vets in our Extended Care and Rehabilitation Building.
We have so many vets with diabetes complications that it motivated me to lose 50 pounds and go on an exercise regimen to keep my diabetes in tight control.
I make ample pocket money, plus enough to buy my gas and lunch (Actually my lunch is taken care of by Sam Warlick and company, who serve in Rowan County’s free “Lunch and More Program” for seniors.)
It’s an on -all job, so I have lots of chill time to read and write in between my clinical duties of retrieving patients and going to get wheelchair parts.
On-call jobs are neat. In the ’90s I had a job working in security, for a lot of retired WWII veterans, at a very large senior living facility. I worked the third, overnight shift. I’ve always found it kind of exciting to stay up all night.
In between rounds, on a golf cart, I had plenty of time to read. There was another guard on duty with me. We coordinated first responders to the resident’s apartments when there was a medical emergency. So things could get real exciting, from time to time, in the middle of the night.
Back to now at the VA hospital… Some of my gifted clinician “bosses” I work for, and have worked for include: Eric Andrews, Leanetta Chambers, Tom O’Neil (print shop supervisor,) Dee Dee Macaulay, Julia Merrick and Mike Meyerhoeffer…
Things are well at the VA Medical Center here in Salisbury.

LifePlus columnist Hugh Deadwyler lives in Salisbury.

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