Residents enjoy fine dining at State Veterans Home

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 20, 2015

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — Donning ties and bow ties and putting on their best dress shirts Thursday, residents sat down to a fine-dining experience at the N.C. State Veterans Home.

About 25 residents of the nursing home ordered off a menu, were waited on by staff and dined on their choices of prime rib, baked chicken, rice pilaf, homemade soup, seasoned asparagus, green beans, salad, yeast rolls, cakes, sweet tea and lemonade.

“Hard to beat, isn’t it,” resident Robert Williams of Newton said. “Today’s special, I guess. They treat us pretty good.”

The staff also brought out the special-event serving dishes, fine glasses and silverware. This was after they had completely redecorated the twin dining rooms with new paint, the insignias of all branches of the military and new prints.

They called it “The Enhanced Dining Experience,” and it was all part of the C2C (Commitment to Caring) Council’s $1,000 challenge at the veterans home.

The N.C. State Veterans Home, located on the Hefner VA Medical Center campus, is an affiliate of UHS-Pruitt Corp. Each year, UHS-Pruitt gives the veterans home $1,000, along with a challenge to do something to improve the care of the patients.

“The ‘Challenge’,” UHS-Pruitt says in its literature, “has given birth to many creative ideas and practices that have improved the lives of those we serve. We have laughed and cried together as we have seen proposals take shape and touch the hearts and lives of those we serve.”

Sally Davis, administrator for the veterans home, says the C2C Council is made up of representatives from each department. It’s headed this year by Stephon Peoples of the maintenance department, and council members served Thursday as the food servers and waitresses.

“We get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the veterans’ response,” Davis said.

The luxurious menu was fashioned and overseen by Dietary Director Barry Jones and Dietary Supervisor Tonya Kluttz.

“I love it,” Jones said of the day.

Davis and Peoples said there was an element of surprise for the residents to this year’s challenge. Most of the guys didn’t know until Thursday morning about the big dinner plans.

“Some of them were excited about it,” Peoples said. “Some, not so excited.”

Staff member Latosha Walker went shopping for the bow ties and ties that were offered to the diners, and she did a good job of matching the neckwear to their shirts.

Davis said she was touched emotionally Wednesday when some of the residents, seeing the military insignia going up on the dining room walls, starting singing songs of the various branches.

Kandace Lewis, activities director at the veterans home, served as a waitress Thursday, and she took the order of  resident Connie Adams.

“I need a prime rib, baked potato and asparagus,” said Adams, wearing a dark tie with his peach-colored dress shirt.

And Lewis was off to the serving line where Barry Cartner, a veterans service officer, and Sharon Monroe of the medical records department prepared Adams’ plate.

Who knows, the veterans home might have given birth Thursday to a fancy new restaurant — a place where the veterans will always have first dibs.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.