Service members from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support spent time with local veteran patients Feb. 12 in support of National Salute to Veteran Patients Week.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly, DLA Troop Support commander, and other uniformed personnel teamed with the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia to thank veteran patients for their service and help raise their spirits.

"We're proud to participate in the National Salute to Veteran Patients Week at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, supporting the veterans in the Philadelphia community," Simerly said.

Each year during the week of Feb. 14, the VA invites the community to recognize the more than 98,000 U.S. military veterans who are cared for every day in the VA medical system. The week is also to raise community awareness about the medical facilities and encourage volunteerism, according to the VA website.

"Even though we were visiting a hospital, the energy, laughter and comradery from the veterans implied otherwise," said Air Force Lt. Col. Chiriga Wilson, a section chief in Medical supply chain. "We went to hear about their experiences and most of them just wanted to know about us. For these men and women to stand, shake our hands, embrace us and tell us how proud they are; words can't properly articulate that feeling."

For some of the volunteers, the visit to the medical center had a more personal meaning.

"My parents are Vietnam veterans and I saw through them how fast service members are forgotten once they separate from the service," said Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Trevor Farrow, a military food advisor in the Subsistence supply chain. "One day, if God wills it, I will be possibly sitting in one of those seats, and I hope to have someone kind enough to sit and have dialogue with.

"We took the call when no one else did and some of us and our families paid the price," Farrow said. "Through it all, we carry physical and invisible scars that remain until we pass. The veterans just want to be acknowledged and have a small conversation about their time served."

Simerly met with Daniel Hendee, medical center director, before he and the volunteers handed out Valentine's Day and thank you cards.

"This is a great opportunity to work with DLA Troop Support to help show support to our veterans during National Salute Week," said Hendee. "We really appreciate Brigadier General Simerly taking the time to come over and show support to the great veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country."

Although focused on different missions, the two Philadelphia-based agencies used this opportunity to highlight their commitment to supporting those who have donned a military uniform.

"We're grateful to Mr. Hendee and his team for allowing us to spend time with the veterans who have dedicated a tremendous amount to our military and country," Simerly said. "We look forward to working with the center in future engagements and building this relationship to continue supporting both past and present service members."

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