Veterans Guest House Support
My name is Andy Smith and I am the quality assurance manager at Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB) in Sparks, Nevada. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that truly cares about not only the environment for which or company exists but also the community as a whole. WETLAB donates countless hours volunteering in the community with organizations like the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful just to name a couple. This year we have also decided to “adopt” a cause as a company-wide fundraising event in order to have a focused effort to make as big of an impact as possible. For 2015 the effort is being focused on the Veterans Guest House, or VGH, located in Reno, Nevada. The VGH is a “home away from home” for families of U.S. military veterans while the veteran receives medical care in any Reno/Sparks medical facility. The house serves a 250 mile radius, and beyond, throughout Northern Nevada and California.
I have joined this fund raising effort with full force for various reasons, the same reasons you would: the wish, or quite frankly the need, to “support the veterans”. All of us have friends and loved ones who’ve served or are currently serving our country, many times far from home. WETLAB itself employs a few veterans and we have siblings and spouses currently serving so it hits close to home. A piece that always strikes me as critical is continued support for troops long after their tours or service time has ended. They have sacrificed unknown quantities for us, not just their time and efforts in the service, but things that I’ll never know. Because of this I want the support we all give to be continuous and never ending.
I have spent some time volunteering at the local VA hospital in a position of great need although on occasion a heartbreaking one. I spent many hours in the palliative care section of the hospital which unfortunately became basically the hospice care center for many. Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and many more. The goal of volunteers like me was simply to have friendly visits with the veterans in that section. We chatted, played cards or board games, we even shared a meal or two. I was fortunate enough to spend time with many older veterans of WWII as well the Korean and the Vietnam wars. One particular gentleman, an extremely friendly man, was a veteran of the Coast Guard and was on duty at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Needless to say he had some great stories. The thought of these veterans, in perhaps their greatest time of need, having to worry about where their loved ones may be staying, troubles me. Keep in mind the nearest VA medical center outside Reno/Sparks is in San Francisco. To know that family is staying in a wonderfully comfortable house literally across the street must provide some level of comfort to those in the care of the local VA hospital. Of course the Veterans Guest House has expenses and costs that many times the veterans simply can’t afford and the house will not turn them away. This is where I, and you, can help. We can donate funds to the house and therefore the veterans. This is my way to provide un-ending support, perhaps years after the veterans have served, but also for veterans who’ve just returned home. If you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation. Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line.