Dedication – Avenue of Heros, Dec 20, 2012, VA Medical Center, Lebanon, PA
Dear Board colleagues,
Back from Lebanon VA Hospital for the dedication/ unveiling of the Caucus’ Avenue of Heroes painting. Long day post call, but well worth it when I saw this piece of art for the first time and the setting of its new home among our nations veterans still undergoing care. The picture/ print does not do justice to this beautiful oil canvas, masterfully framed and placed aside a wonderful quote etched in glass from President Lincoln. I was truly blown away when I saw it for the first time. More importantly, it is hung in a wonderful setting that highlights this art for many Veterans with ongoing medical care to remind them of the legacy of care and sacrifice given by military medical personnel. After the dedication, I stood aside for a bit, watching many wheelchair bound Vets tool by and ponder this art work. I felt very proud of what the caucus has done to remind all of our heritage in caregiving, and thank you all for letting me be a part of it.
The VA and its representatives are likewise very proud, thankful and careful of this piece – this was quite evident from all I spoke to. It will be very well cared for here.
Below are the notes I used for the dedication (not verbatim by the time I muttered through) and hope that it represents the entire board’s sentiments:
Good morning; My name is Chuck Haney, board member of the Veteran Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. I am honored to represent the Caucus today and help dedicate our Avenue of Heroes portrait and thankful for the Home that you all have provided this important work.
For those unfamiliar with the Veteran Caucus of the AAPA, we comprise a band of brother and sister veterans within our national physician assistant organization, who simply never ended up dropping our medic packs when we hung up our uniforms with some still actively serving. We remain just as dedicated and devoted to caring for our own as we were when we first raised our right hand. We continue in a proud tradition of serving our nation’s heroes by offering scholarships to corpsmen and women to train as Physician Assistants and also provide these caregivers with the tools to recognize and treat common health problems specific to our Veterans. Hence, one of our mottos– Lifesavers then; caregivers now.
To depict this proud heritage of selfless sacrifice and aid to our soldiers, a few years ago the Veteran Caucus commissioned artist Austin Deuel, a Vietnam era marine, combat artist and art teacher to produce a painting that would give honor to this tradition. Today we dedicate that print entitled Avenue of Heroes. This artwork depicts gallant acts of life saving care under enemy fire provided by corpsmen and women and nurses throughout WWI; WWII; Korea; Vietnam; Iraq and Afghanistan which have earned these soldiers our nation’s highest honors – some four silver stars and four Medals of Honor. To borrow the motto from the PJ’s….that others may live.
I am honored to dedicate our print to a home where I believe this tradition of caring for our own, our nation’s heroes continues today. I thank God for our Great Nation, one that continues to provide VA hospitals and care for those who have sacrificed greatly for our freedom. I want to thank each and every veteran for your service and pray for continued healing. I pray for all the caregivers within the VA medical system called to such a noble profession for continued strength and wisdom. It is my hope that this print will serve as a reminder for all that pass it, the camaraderie we share in service to each other, the ability of the American Soldier to compassionately care for each other in the midst of all odds and across all of life’s battlefields, and the grace filled hope that this care brings to each of us.
Attached, and more to follow are some pictures taken. The VA had a professional photographer there who no doubt took much better pictures which I asked to send for the Web site.
Thanks again for this opportunity,