In an effort to continue its mission of helping others, Christus Mother Frances Hospital staff members donated both their time and money Tuesday morning to the veterans’ resource center, CAMP V, in Tyler.
Teams from the hospital came out to CAMP V, also known as Community Assisting Military Personnel and Veterans, to volunteer for four hours. Senior leaders also delivered a $1,500 check to the nonprofit during their service day.
Jason Proctor, president of Christus Mother Frances Hospital Tyler, said the $1,500 donation to CAMP V will assist in growing the nonprofit’s programs that help area veterans in need.
“We see helping veterans in our community as the next step in mission,” Proctor said. “The veterans who come here we want to help any way we can.”
He noted that volunteering at CAMP V also goes along with the mission of Christus TMF.
“It speaks to people that want to help others,” Proctor said. “Our mission demands that we extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. We really look at working with our community as a way to achieve our mission every day.”
Michael Cichowicz, CAMP V executive director, said the organization is a place for veterans to come to answer questions about their benefits while also building relationships with other veterans.
He was appreciative of the donation from Christus as CAMP V currently receives no state or federal funding.
“It means the world to us because of the relationship we have with them,” Cichowicz said. “Donations are critical to us completing our mission. At the end of the day, we’re here for the veterans.”
CAMP V serves 14 East Texas counties, and its services are continuing to expand after being open for a year.
Cichowicz said it’s incredible to see how far CAMP V has come within a year.
“Just to see how far this team has come is something the community and myself are proud of, but we’re not done yet,” he said.
In the spring, CAMP V plans to open its women’s center, which will be dedicated to helping female veterans transition into civilian life by offering support with work readiness, providing educational resources, and hosting support groups along with general health and wellness services.
During their visit, Christus staff also brought blankets, first-aid kits and prayer cards to CAMP V. Cichowicz said those items typically go to homeless veterans and their families that CAMP V assists.
In addition to the donation and volunteer work, Christus officials also announced a new program dedicated to honoring veterans within their healthcare system — Honor the Red, White and Blue Program.
Ali Birjandi, vice president of performance improvement at Christus Health Northeast Texas, said Honor the Red, White and Blue is all about honoring and respecting United States veterans throughout the healthcare system.
Through this new program kicking off Wednesday, veterans receiving treatment at a Christus facility will be able to get the VIP treatment with a designation on their hospital room door, Birjandi explained.
“If they don’t mind being recognized, we love to roll out the red carpet for them,” he said, adding that the health system wants to celebrate service members not just on Veterans Day. “We wanted to do something that’s special for veterans all year.”
The new program is being rolled out across all Christus facilities in northeast Texas, but it’s starting at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, Birjandi said.
He added that the health system is being trained on how to take care of veterans for them to be treated in an honorable way.
CAMP V, located at 3212 W. Front Street in Tyler, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their phone number is (903) 566-1010.
On Wednesday, both CAMP V and Christus TMF will be hosting separate events to honor Veterans Day.
CAMP V, the American Freedom Museum and the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum will host an hour-long ceremony at the Brook Hill School, located at 1051 N. Houston Street in Bullard, for veterans at 10 a.m. The event will include patriotic music from East Texas Men in Harmony, a taps tribute and poetry readings.
Christus TMF and Christus Trinity Clinic are hosting a drive-thru thank you lunch for veteran patients in the physicians parking lot at the corner of Fleishel and Dawson. The program begins at 12:30 p.m. and includes color guard by the high school ROTC programs and a small ceremony featuring local leaders and state representatives.