VA North Texas Health Care System
Army Chief Visits Veterans at Dallas VA
Richard Agnew is an early riser. Whether at his home or as a patient in VA North Texas’ Community Living Center (CLC), Agnew greets each day with the grit and tenacity that only an 86-year-old Korean War hero can muster. But even Agnew had a little more pep in his step on Saturday, November 11th—Veterans Day-- as he adjusted his shirt cuffs in preparation for a special visit.
The 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Mark A. Milley, made a stop at Dallas VA on a crisp Veterans Day morning to thank CLC residents for their service and sacrifice to the nation. The CLC used to be called a nursing home, but its services enable Veterans to stay for a short time or longer to receive a level of care that includes help with daily activities in addition to skilled nursing and medical care. Veteran residents, nurses, staff and visiting family members gathered in one of the specialty recreation rooms to greet General Milley, his wife Hollyanne, and several members of the U.S. Army leadership team.
For short term residents like Agnew, who is recovering from a car accident, the CLC is an opportunity to restore his high level of well-being while enjoying the presence and camaraderie of his fellow Veterans from all eras of service.
“I’m 86 years old and I’m planning to make it to 98,” said Agnew, who received the nation’s second highest award for valor--the Distinguished Service Cross--for his actions on the deadly, frozen fields of Korea in 1953. The Airborne Infantryman and Ranger retired from the U.S. Army as a major.
As General Milley made his way from Veteran to Veteran, inquiring about their military unit and thanking each one of them for their service, it was easy to see the pride and honor that drove them to enlist and proudly dawn the uniform.
“It’s my honor to meet you and thank you for your service,” said General Milley. “In fact, are you ready to reenlist? I could sure use you all.”
And with a roar of positive affirmation, Milley asked every Veteran to raise their right hand and reaffirm their oath of enlistment. Once re-sworn, General Milley commented that the Veterans should fall-in for pushups and other physical training. Though said tongue-in-cheek, it was very apparent that the Veterans in attendance, aged 50 to 93, were very ready to continue their service—further proof that the word Veteran is not merely a label, but a lifelong calling.