VISN 12 - VA Great Lakes Health Care System
VISN 12 Staff Help Veterans Dress for Success
When those navy-blue slacks that used to fit perfectly two years ago are now a bit too snug to button, or when the suit you fell in love with when you first saw it on the rack at the department store has fallen out of love with you, what do you do? Some people throw the clothes away, others donate them to a charity or give them to someone they know. Some even sell them online. The employees at Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN 12) in Westchester, Ill., decided to give them to Veterans in need.
Over the course of four weeks, VISN 12 employees brought in 90 pieces of new or nearly-new business attire - ranging from suits, blazers, shirts, slacks and shoes for both men and women – from their own closets to help Veterans who need business attire for seeking employment. The clothing was donated to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Chicago Dec. 8.
Sharla Parker, VISN 12 Compliance Officer and organizer of the clothing drive, said clothing drives like these play an important role in helping Veterans.
“Often, our Veterans just need something small to help them get started in a new career,” said Parker. “Feeling good about how you are dressed can assist with performing well in an interview or with those first few weeks in a new job. Our Veterans may not have business attire, and this is a good way to get them started.”
Patricia Martin, VISN 12 Secretary with three brothers who are Veterans, felt it was important for her to contribute clothing to the drive.
“Helping Veterans has always been near and dear to my heart” said Martin. “I understand the importance of having the proper attire for the workplace, and I knew I had clothing I could share. I’m very happy to know what I gave will be going to help Veterans.”
Patrick Gleason, Chief of Voluntary Service at Jesse Brown VAMC, oversees the medical center’s clothing room and said there is a large need for these donations.
“Each year, approximately 400 Jesse Brown VAMC Veterans benefit from business attire donations,” said Gleason. “Without these donations, many of our Veterans would not have the opportunity to own the higher-end garments. Providing the garments not only saves Veterans money that can be used for other needs; it also can lift their spirits when they have a nice set of clothes to wear when the situation warrants it.”
Parker was pleased with the show of support from the VISN 12 staff.
“Our staff is amazing,” said Parker. “I think everyone feels good about doing something to help our Veterans.”
About VISN 12
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 12, with its eight medical centers, 38 outpatient clinics, eight nursing homes, and six domiciliaries, provides health care services to the 700,000 Veterans who reside within its four-state (Illinois, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, and Northwest Indiana) area. VISN 12 also has the country’s first fully-integrated VA and Department of Defense medical facility, the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.