Heroes Beyond the Uniform. Still Serving!
As we commemorate Veterans Day, we honor the brave individuals who have selflessly served our nation, protecting the freedoms we hold dear. Among these heroes are those whose service mission continues beyond their military duty. At Valley Village, we are privileged to have two remarkable veterans, Steve and Juan. After completing their military service, Steve and Juan ventured into their next mission – providing compassionate care and support to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Sailing the Seas to Serving Hearts
Steve’s journey from the Navy to nursing is a testament to the enduring impact of military service. He draws parallels between the structured world of the military and the intricate realm of nursing, where orders must be executed precisely, mirroring how he once followed orders from his superiors. With its vast stretches of open sea, the Navy instilled in him the significance of discipline and teamwork. It taught him that the team’s unity ensures success in facing adversity, a lesson he carries daily.
Serving at sea exposed Steve to the sheer magnitude of the world, making him appreciate the diversity of people and the significance of working harmoniously with those from all walks of life. This skill has proven invaluable in his role as a caregiver, where he interacts daily with individuals of varying abilities and backgrounds. His experiences have made him adept at bridging the gaps that sometimes divide us, fostering a sense of belonging and understanding.
Yet, what truly sets Steve apart is his ability to cherish the small moments—the connections that defy verbal language and speak directly to the heart—one such moment involved Eddie, a resident who expressed his love for Steve in a simple yet profound gesture. These instances serve as poignant reminders of the immense impact caregivers can have on their clients’ lives. They reflect the heart and soul of Steve’s service—a service that transcends boundaries and empowers those under his care.
Comrades in Care
Juan’s transition from military service to caregiving exemplifies the profound impact of his time in the Navy on his life’s journey. As a former Navy Corpsman, Juan dedicated approximately eight years to providing critical medical coverage, including service alongside Marines. This experience transcended the bounds of duty and forged unbreakable bonds of brotherhood. In the tightly-knit world of the military, Juan learned that strangers could swiftly become family, united by a common purpose and a shared commitment to service.
The values instilled during his military tenure—discipline, teamwork, leadership, and an unwavering work ethic—have seamlessly transitioned into his role at Valley Village. Juan embodies these principles as he dedicates himself to caring for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, offering them assistance and a profound sense of belonging and understanding.
For Juan, one of the most fulfilling aspects of his role is witnessing residents achieve remarkable milestones. These moments, brimming with joy and a profound sense of accomplishment, are a poignant reminder of the extraordinary impact that caregivers can have on the lives of those they serve. They reaffirm the significance of Juan and his fellow caregivers’ daily work.
Significance of Veterans Day
For Steve and Juan, Veterans Day holds profound meaning. It is a day to honor everyone who wore uniforms and recognize their contributions to our nation. They express their gratitude through charitable donations to veterans’ causes and emphasize the importance of supporting veterans during their transition to civilian life.
They stress the value of mentorship programs, employing veterans, and supporting veteran-owned businesses. By actively participating in these initiatives, they ensure their fellow veterans receive the support and recognition they deserve.
Honoring Veterans Inspiring Change through Double Duty
On this Veterans Day, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to veterans in uniform and those like Steve and Juan, who continue to serve their community. Their journeys from military service to caregiving exemplify the resilience and adaptability of our nation’s veterans. They embody the spirit of service above self, bringing purpose and joy to the lives of those they care for. We commend them for their dedication to serving others twice over.