Originally Published: May 13, 2009 8:14 p.m.
My father, Harry George Smeltzer, is a veteran from World War II, USS Franklin, CV13, and is proud to have fought for his country. He had a massive stroke Jan. 13, prior to which he was healthy and active.
He needed government help. The VA Medical Center leadership understood the need for follow-up and the urgency of his rehabilitative needs.
So did Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick and representatives from the Department of Veteran Services (DVS).
My dad now receives the best care at our Prescott VA Community Living Center. He is "cared for and cared about." His nurse practitioner, Laurie McCoy, is remarkable. She is comprehensive in identifying his care needs, and communicates with my dad regularly.
The therapist and nurses worked together to make sure my father was progressing. Recently he stood up for the first time in four months. All in the VA provide visible acts of kindness, from the dieticians to the housekeepers. All respect veterans.
The Prescott VA is the best place for my father. He is in a social environment where he has commonalities with the other veterans. He befriended a gentleman whose ship during World War II rescued my father's ship after Japanese bombed it in the Pacific. The patients all wear caps that tell the story of their contributions to our country. My father recently got a crew cut in remembrance of his Navy days.
Community involvement is pervasive, from pet therapy and musical performances to sponsored Friday Fish Fry luncheons by the American Legion and VFW. The DAR and Marines support card games/bingo. On Easter veterans had cards from students thanking them for their service. Most veterans wear a lap quilt made by volunteers.
Our Prescott VA demonstrates government working at its best. Thank you, Congresswomen Kirkpatrick, VA staff and community for supporting, caring and respecting our veterans.
Carolyn Hope Smeltzer, RN, EdD
Daughter of Harry George Smeltzer, USS Franklin, CV13