Employee Appreciation - Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center
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Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center


Employee Appreciation

Thank You letters

Thank You letters

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Veterans and their family members often send numerous letters of praise and gratitude to the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center.  These letters serve as a true testament to the compassionate care provided daily by the medical center's hard working staff to our nation's heroes.  Here are a few letters and comments that we would like to share:


I wanted you to know that two employees, LaTonya Barnes and Winston Eubanks, went out of their way to provide me with exceptional service today and would like to recognize them by making you aware of their excellent customer service. Thank you.

~Conversation with a Veteran ~
~ September 9th 2020 ~ 

Dear Mr. Merkle,

I came to your facility to seek assistance through RRTP. Upon my arrival -as was your policy -I was tested for COVID-19, and I was shocked when I was informed that I had tested positive. I went from thinking about addressing my MH issues, to immediately questioning, at 65 years of age with underlying medical issues if this, was where I would die? Mere moments after I had been informed by phone of my test results -along with some initial instructions to remain in my room -NP Leigh Smith came to me. She immediately calmed my fear and assured me that I was NOT going to die on her watch; and that she was going to monitor me every step of the way. Albeit at the time neither of us could have imagined that my COVID-19 would last for 86-days.

True to her word, NP Smith came by or called me on a regular basis to check about symptoms and to express her encouragement. She stayed acutely informed as to all of COVID-19's many evolving treatments and therapeutics and applied those that she would discuss with me. Knowing that she cared about my well-being -really cared -gave me daily hope that this too would pass. Not in my time, but in God's time. Suffice it to say: You should do all that you can to ensure that she remains here until her retirement and thank your lucky stars if she does.

I could literally make this letter 50-pages long, and never leave the focus of how much LP Smith meant to me and my overall acceptance of my circumstance; but in reality, so many people contributed to my recovery, encouraged and lifted me up daily. I pray that I will include each one. When on duty, Nurse Latoya Layton would call me and check on me; inquire as to any needs that I might have, and if possible, she would provide them. But more than the "needs" discussed; it was her overall cheerful attitude that helped. I know it was frustrating to her and others that I could not pinpoint anything specific that they could do for me, but COVID-19 is weird. I had so many quirky things, but somewhat like when you have the flu, there just were not many things that could fix it, but time.

When she was away, or even when Nurse Latoya was here; Rochelle would call, Monica would call, Kim would call, and Keisha would call, each of them and all the nurses were ALWAYS so truly kind and serving -a blessing. In about the middle of my quarantine, Nurse (Captain &) Tennille Robinson was shifted to this side, and immediately she called and was in her own right just what the Dr. ordered (pun intended)! Psychologist Caitlin Retterer spent several HOURS on the phone discussing my case needs in particularity ... in other words, far more than just a courtesy call. Ms. Carol Nicholson also helped me with her checking in and discussions.

The ones who were tasked with "extra duty" to take care of me deserve so much of my thanks. I was in this room for 86-days, and if I needed something, i.e., food, hot water, garbage emptied, etc., I had to necessarily rely upon others to take care of them for me. I had to necessarily rely upon others to take care of them for me. And to make it harder on them, they were required lo put on a spaceman's suit prior to contact with me, and then they were required to wipe down and disinfect the Vitals machine, food cart, etc. All these things that could have had them upset with having to do them. But their attitude was just the opposite. They had a smile and a good word every time they came to the room. "Kenny" Taylor would greet me in the mornings with ice, hot water and my food tray. He would take my vitals and ALWAYS, ALWAYS lift me up with his infectious happy spirit. Craig Brown showed unusual empathy that was sincere each time he served me, and each time never left before asking if I needed anything else. Scott Patterson would make it a point every time that he was on duty to call me and check to see if I needed ANYTHING and then assured, I got it. And please do not let me forget your Dietician, Ray Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett called me and planned with me what foods I felt I could eat and what he thought I best needed. He is a jewel. What a blessing they were, and this institution should be thankful they are here.

Mr. Director, toward the end of August of last year through February of this year I was seriously ill, and during that time, I was an inpatient at numerous other hospitals. You often hear that the VA Hospital just does not measure up- and while you should never quit improving for the Veteran's, allow me to sincerely say that at none of the above mentioned prestigious medical institutions was I given the level of personal care that I experienced in your Medical Center. I will forever be grateful that God put you in my path. If I omitted anyone personally - please accept my apology and mark it off to my failed memory. It is my fervent prayer that I shall one day have an opportunity to serve you with the same kindness and care that you showed unto me. Thank you each one.

Respectfully submitted & Godspeed,

~Letter from a Veteran~
~ August 7th 2020 ~

Director Merkle,

I wanted to take a moment and let you know what a wonderful job your Sick Call Team did.  I came in on July 6th and was dealt with courteously and professional.  The two gentlemen that wheeled me around were very nice and the ladies in X-Ray did an excellent job, too.  The team of Christopher Maddox, Andy Richard Mullins, Tina Bragg, Holly Freeman, Tammy Tooley, from reception to my phone call on my X-Ray, they did a wonderful job, as did your wheelchair group and the ladies in X-Ray

Please give them my regards.

~Letter from a Veteran~
~July 27th 2020~

Past Thank You Letters















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