VA North Texas Health Care System
Celebrating Veterans This Veterans Day
Selected by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the site of one of 51 regional Veterans Day programs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center and the City of Bonham will host the Annual Regional Veterans Day Program on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at the Bonham High School Warrior Football Stadium. This event serves as a grand opportunity to honor Veterans and is the perfect educational opportunity for students to learn more about Veterans and their sacrifices throughout our Nation’s history for our freedom.
To kick-off the celebration, the Paralyzed Veterans of America Honor Guard (PVA) will present the colors. This will be followed by a performance by the Bonham High School Band and a rifle volley by the Lone Star Chapter of PVA Wheelchair Honor Guard.
Guest speaker, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman, will arrive by parachute and land on the field of Warrior Stadium the crowd. Bowman was a Special Forces Soldier and a member of the U.S. Army’s elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. He is a double amputee; losing his legs in an accident during the annual Golden Knights training in Arizona in 1994.
Rather than crisscrossing, the two skydivers slammed into each other at a combined speed of 300 miles per hour. Bowman’s teammate, Sgt. Jose Aguillon, died instantly. Bowman’s legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. Bowman’s parachute opened on impact. He was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where doctors closed his leg wounds and stopped his internal bleeding.
Nine months later, Bowman turned this tragedy into a triumph when he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the Army. He re-enlisted with Airborne-style, skydiving with his commander into the ceremony, making his dream a reality. Bowman’s achievement is yet another example of how Veterans thrive under adverse circumstances.
Dallas & Fort Worth
On November 11, VA North Texas Health Care System will join government officials, Veterans service organizations, civic leaders and members of the active, reserve and retired military at the 2015 Veterans Day parades in Dallas and Fort Worth to celebrate the individual courage and commitment necessary to defend this great nation.
The 2015 Dallas Veterans Day Parade commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II Military displays will be available for viewing in front of Dallas City Hall beginning at 9:30 a.m. More than 150 young men and women representing all branches of the military will take their Oath of Enlistment there at 10:50 a.m. Led by U.S. Representative Sam Johnson, the 11th Hour Ceremonies includes a symbolic wreath laying accompanied by Taps, a Missing Man Formation fly-over, and the colorful Massing of the Colors performed by area High School JROTC cadets. The parade starts at Houston and Young Streets and continues up Main Street, across Ervay Street, and passes in front of Dallas City Hall.
In Fort Worth, the 2015 Tarrant County Veterans Day Parade honors Vietnam Veterans and the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Step-off is 10:30 a.m. on North Main Street with an Opening Ceremony at 11 a.m. in Sundance Square. The Parade’s Grand Marshal is retired Marine LTC Daniel Varnedore, who currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the DFW Toys For Tots campaign and works with MAG-41 as transportation manager during the DFW Toys for Tots Campaigns, a position he has enjoyed for the past 26 years.
VA North Texas Health Care System
While the country pauses this one day, employees of VA North Texas strive to recognize, honor, and support our Nation’s heroes every day. Having a VA staff that is more than 30% Veterans themselves pushes us toward our goal of “Changing lives. One Veteran at a time.” VA North Texas has marked these recent and future improvements to provide great care and an overall more positive patient experience:
- Cut appointment wait times. The percentage of Veterans waiting for an appointment for more than 30 days now stands at 3.52%; down from 6.69% last summer and compared to a VA-wide percentage of 7.69%.
- Reduced the average wait times for Primary Care, Mental Health and Specialty Care so they are now the best in our region that extends from southern Oklahoma to most of Texas.
- Became the first VA facility to perform MitraClip to repair the heart’s mitral valve and the first VA facility approved to perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement for patients deemed unsuitable or too high risk for open heart surgery.
- Rolled out a Homeless Mobile Medical Mental Health Unit for Veterans to provide both medical and mental health services from a mobile unit directly to where homeless Veterans live on the streets, in shelters and under bridges.
- Improved the timeliness of disability evaluations by decreasing average days from 58.7 days to 30 days; and increased full-time provider staff by 45% to support the claims volume.
- Opened second VA clinic in Tyler to expand both primary and specialty care.
- Started construction of Long-Term Spinal Cord Injury facility and expansion of our Emergency Department.
- Expanding parking at the Dallas VAMC by opening a second garage in the near future with construction on a third parking garage immediately following.
- Opening a VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Plano next year.
Veterans Day - A time to give thanks to America’s heroes for their love of country and countless sacrifices they have made for the freedom we take for granted. The VA North Texas family pays tribute by reaffirming our commitment to serve, support and care for each and every Veteran who walks through our doors.