The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System is celebrating its annual "National Salute to Veteran Patients," a week-long series of events that applaud veterans' sacrifices and draws attention to those receiving medical care.
Bethany Miga, who heads communications for the Pittsburgh VA, said they have lined up a number of ways for the public to connect with veterans and for veterans to connect with each other. Miga said that includes a “hero-to-hero “wall.
"We asked them ‘what words of encouragement or advice would you give to newly returning service members and new veterans who are going through a transition?'” Miga said. “They came up with some amazing ideas, so we’re going to be posting huge banners that when you walk in the door you can see all of these words of encouragement and advice to the next generation of veterans.”
They have also set up bright red “Write a Hero” mailboxes in the lobbies of both campuses. Visitors can drop a note to an anonymous veteran or veteran’s family member or caregiver, who can pick up the correspondence from the same mailbox. Those who cannot make it to the VA Pittsburgh’s campuses can send a letter to the facilities physical mailing address.
Miga said they will also be posting profiles outside of some patients’ rooms where visitors can learn a little about the veteran and use the information to spark up a conversation. Beyond showing appreciation for vets during National Salute, Miga said the events are also meant to open the door for those who’d like to volunteer at the VA.
She said the vets deserve the public’s support.
“They made a decision that is going to impact the rest of their lives, and it’s not an easy road for many of them," Miga said. "We can’t forget that and I think that some days are easier than others for them, and it’s nice to have someone come up to you and validate your sacrifice and thank you for your service."
National Salute to Veteran Patients takes place from Feb. 10-14.
VA Pittsburgh mailing addresses:
- Oakland campus: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, University Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15240
- O’Hara Township: H.J. Heinz Campus, 1010 Delafield Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15215