ICARE AWARD RECOGNITION - Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center
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Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center




ICARE Award Recognition

Monday, December 2, 2019

o organization can succeed without values to match its mission. Our mission, as the Department of Veterans Affairs, is to care for those “who shall have borne the battle” and for their families and survivors. Our core values focus our minds on our mission of caring and thereby guide our actions toward service to others.

These values — Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence — define our culture and strengthen our dedication to those we serve. They provide a baseline for the standards of behavior expected of all VA employees. They remind us and others that “I CARE”:


John Hubbard 

Dr. John E Hubbard served as an advocate for his patient's wife, who was seated in the waiting area of the Primary Care Clinic building 38 (1) first floor.  As the patient's wife waited for her husband to complete his clinic visit, she became ill. The Nursing staff from Dr. -Hubbard's team was contacted and informed of here condition.  Dr. Hubbard was notified as well. He immediately left from examining her husband and went out into the waiting room to assess her. She was assisted into a wheelchair and moved to an exam room. She was transferred from the wheelchair to a stretcher with assistance. He requested that his patient's wife be treated with the same respect and attention as a scheduled or walk up patient. Nursing staff began obtaining vital signs and assessing the patient. 


    Once prudent information was collected concerning the patient's medical history, he gave a verbal order for a medical emergency to be called. The patient's wife was stabilized at the TVAMC and transported to the hospital. 
The following week the patient informed the team that his wife was home and doing well. Working with Dr. Hubbard has taught all staff that no matter who enters the TVAMC they are a valued customer, and in the event that customers become ill/confused or unresponsive, it is our responsibility to provide the highest quality of care. He has proven his Advocacy, Integrity and Commitment as an Excellent provider.

Nominated by: Ashley Hardy


Ashley Hardy

 I just want to take a moment to send an e-mail about the Excellent care given by Ashley Hardy today. I witnessed Extraordinary care that was definitely above and beyond. In addition to taking care of the many veterans for PACT 5 which is an extremely busy clinic she also took the time to calm a crying baby in the lobby. I could tell that the grandparent was a little stressed because the lobby was full of people and she actually had 2 small babies here while waiting for the Veteran she came with to finish up his appointment. I assumed that the Veteran was her son since those were her grandbabies. Ashley stepped right in and asked the grandparent if she could hold the baby for a moment. She calmed the baby down which was a big relief for the grandparent and the people in lobby. In addition to that she finished the day up with a Medical Emergency in which I witnessed her quick actions in doing what she needed to do to assist with making sure that the Veteran was being taken care of. She has also did an outstanding job of assisting me and keeping me in the know while working PACT 5 clinic. Ashley is always great to work with and are very helpful to me. She helps my day to run smoothly as well in addition to the heavy workload that she manages. When I inform her of a Veteran's need she takes care of it without all of the “Extra” and I never heard her complain about their job. She just gets the work done and has a great rapport of working together which is commendable because I cannot say the same about other areas that I have worked in.

Nominated by: Shemeka Cannon


Robert Davis

The purpose of this letter is to nominate, Mr. Robert Davis, Peer Specialist for the MHICM program, for the I CARE aware on Integrity. During Mr. Davis' tenure, he has helped numerous Veterans across various programs with access to services, benefits--and, most importantly, their journey to recovery. Mr. Davis goes beyond the call of duty by helping Veterans outside of his work hours. While on his personal time, Mr. Davis met a Veteran in the community who had never been enrolled in the VA system. After Mr. Davis talked with this Veteran briefly, the Veteran was interested in enrollment with Tuscaloosa VAMC. Mr. Davis, personally, met the Veteran at TVAMC and walked him through the enrollment process. After the Veteran was successfully enrolled with TVAMC, Mr. Davis assisted the Veteran by giving him a tour around the Medical Center. Later, this Veteran had another dilemma. With no family in the Tuscaloosa area, Veteran needed someone to accompany him to Birmingham for a scheduled procedure. Mr. Davis volunteered himself and his personal time to travel with this Veteran and remain by his side throughout his procedure. This Veteran was so appreciative of Mr. Davis from the time he helped him with enrollment to the time he stayed by his side for a very needed medical procedure. Mr. Davis is a valuable asset to this Medical Center, and he models the I CARE values each and every day. 

Nominated by: Cierra Ball


Earve Knox

Mr. Knox has been an exceptional worker since he has been working as MSA on Freedom Hall.  He genuinely cares about the veterans, and employees, and it is displayed in his willingness to go above and beyond to assist the Veteran and staff in any way he can.   Mr. Knox goes out of his way to make sure the needs of both veterans, and employees are taken care of.  When Mr. Knox first came to the unit, he made a list of every Veteran's and employee's birthday, so staff and the Veterans could be recognized on their special day.  On several occasions I recall Mr. Knox gathering staff together to sing happy birthday to Veterans on their special day. This of course put a huge smile on the Veterans faces.  He has a can do attitude and is a joy to be around.  Even though he is assigned to Freedom Hall, residents and employees from other units often seek his help and support, and he gladly assists.  Mr. Knox has exceptional organizational skills which allows him to multi-task well.  Mr. Knox displays and genuine caring attitude towards the Veterans and the staff.  He shows a love for his job by being meticulous in making sure staff members time is correct, and that He gets the Veterans there requested fund in a timely fashion.   Veterans from other units often seek out Mr. Knox for help because they know he will get right to business to ensure they get the funds requested.  

      Mr. Knox is the only MSA on GEC that constantly picks up the mail, for the all units and delivers it.  Although he certainly does not have to do it, Mr. Knox often takes time to sweep and mop the nurse's station when needed.  I've witnessed Mr. Knox mop a resident's room after their visitor complained about the floor being dirty.  Mr. Knox knew the housekeeper was cleaning down the hall and the unit staff were busy caring for patients. This is the type of selfless, team player Mr. Knox is.  Mr. Knox finds  time in his busy day to converse with residents just to put a smile on their face.  Mr. Knox converted a form for a better understanding on what is the “haircut list”.  Mr. Knox make sure that the residents are involved in holidays.   If the nursing staff needs anything and he is able to assist, they know they can count on Mr. Knox for help.  If we need certain supplies on the unit Mr. Knox “Can Do” attitude makes it happen.   Certain residents will pass by the nurses to find Mr. Knox, they look at him as a great help and a friend.  When the unit is short-handed, Mr. Knox will take time to help with the unit rounds (accountability of the residents).  Mr. Knox says, “these are very small things”, but it's the small things lead up the larger ones and show that he cares. The words that is not my job is not in Mr. Knox' vocabulary.   If he cannot find the solution, he will find someone who does.  He will not leave a Veteran in limbo waiting for feedback.   Mr. Knox has also been a PMDB instructor for almost 3 years.  He enjoys it and does it with passion as he does everything else.  When other instructors are absent from their respective teams Mr.  Knox fills in without hesitation.  He has gotten nothing but praise from the coordinator on the fantastic job he has been doing.

      Mr. Knox comes into work each day with a smile on his face that lights up the unit.  He is the epitome of ICARE.  Even the visitors that come by say Mr. Knox is a welcome, professional, delightful person to be around.  Mr. Knox is someone who can be counted on.  If he says he will do it, you can rest assured that it will get done. It is indeed a pleasure to walk into the nursing office and see Mr. Knox's smiling face.  When Mr. Knox is off work his presence is surely missed by both Veterans and co-workers. 


Nominated by: Alesia Smith



Terrell Hemphill

Since returning to TVAMC, Mr. Hemphill has gone above and beyond to provide EXCELLENT service to any Veteran I contact him about. There are a couple of examples I truly believe showcase this aspect of his dedication to TVAMC and Veterans in general.

 While covering for the VITAL Coordinator last month, I was contacted by the University of Alabama's Office of Veterans and Military Affairs VSOC Coordinator to assist with facilitating enrollment for a Veteran-Student who recently moved to the area. I walked the Veteran to E&E and met with Mr. Hemphill. He respectfully greeted and engaged the Veteran from the moment we stepped in front of the AOD desk. Through discussion, it was determined that both of them were Marines. Through the quick camaraderie that was established through this connection, Mr. Hemphill was able to truly treat this Veteran with care like we teach all employees in our Own the Moment training. Mr. Hemphill abides by these principles daily. Mr. Hemphill was committed to ensuring the Veteran was enrolled (although he did not have his DD-214 with him). Not only did I but especially the Veteran left with a sense of gratitude for Mr. Hemphill being so attentive to meeting the Veteran's request for enrollment and going a step further with scheduling an appointment.

 Another example within the past week has been the assistance he has provided for a Veteran who needed a Means Test updated. The Veteran began receiving bills for medication copays. Mr. Hemphill took it upon himself to deep-dive into the Veteran's copay deductible issues. Rather than sending the Veteran to another department, he reached out himself and contacted multiple areas in the facility to pinpoint where the issues were. It was discovered that the Veteran did not report all of his deductions which resulted in copays. Mr. Hemphill worked with the Veteran to ensure the appropriate information was included. As a result, the Veteran is not only exempt but also less worried about how he is going to pay bills at home, eat, or simply take care of his other needs.

I've witnessed him being an advocate outside of the VA in his explaining benefits to Veterans even as he umpires softball games. He is a wonderful representative of the VA both at work and outside of work. He is able to connect to Veterans through his own experience as a Veteran. Mr. Hemphill's service and dedication to our Veterans exudes excellence in every aspect of the word: he honestly does care!

 Nominated by: Wallace Miller 

Past Award Winners



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