Ways Spectrum Health honors veterans in West Michigan

In honor of Veterans Day, Spectrum Health is saluting the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guard service members who have rendered the highest service any American can offer.

Special observance ceremonies are taking place throughout the day at many locations. Ashley Escobedo, chair of the Spectrum Health Veteran Inclusion Resource Group, shares how Spectrum Health is offering assistance to servicemen and women.

The Veteran IRG is a volunteer employee service organization whose purpose is to encourage a strong veteran community through comradery, advocacy, and opportunity. They support those who have served and Spectrum Health by:

  • Advocating for veterans’ care within our community and Spectrum Health.
  • Enhancing the careers of fellow veterans at Spectrum Health.
  • Promoting Spectrum Health as a veteran-centric organization.

Spectrum Health was the first health care system in the state to be recognized by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency as a Certified Veteran-Friendly Employer. Spectrum Health officials also have signed the ESGR Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve, which encourages employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military.

For patients, Spectrum Health works to identify, recognize and advocate for them through Veteran Support Services. Identification of veteran status allows each unit to “Raise the Flag” for those Veterans identified. This process consists of a cling-on flag placed on a patient’s whiteboard in appreciation for their service; given to the patient upon discharge as a keepsake.

They also advocate for veterans by identifying when a veteran needs additional assistance, so they can help them connect with available resources. They need to ensure they have access to healthcare and can navigate the system.

Currently, there are about 50,000 veterans in Kent and Ottawa Counties and about 100,000 in Spectrum Health’s 13-county service region. An average of 66 percent of this veteran population will seek care with Spectrum Health in the coming year.

Spectrum Health has celebrated Veterans Day over the past few weeks with a variety of activities. They hand-delivered cards made by Alto Elementary School students to veteran patients in the hospital, Spectrum Health had a Memorial Wall displayed throughout the hospital where employees and visitors could write messages to veterans, as well as special observance ceremonies on Veterans day in various locations around West Michigan.

Learn more by visiting spectrum health.org.

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