National Salute to Veteran Patients week is Feb. 14-20

By: Maria Allard | Online Only | Published February 10, 2016

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The John D. Dingell Detroit Medical Center staff is getting ready for the National Salute to Veteran Patients week, which this year is set for Feb. 14–20. The veterans medical center is located at 4646 John R St.

The National Salute to Veteran Patients week, which began in 1978 as a way to honor veterans, was designed to increase community awareness of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ role in providing medical care. It also encourages U.S. citizens and community organizations to become more engaged in volunteerism and philanthropic efforts.

“It’s our chance to come together and host an exciting week of visitors, events, celebrations and commemorations for veterans and others,” Dr. Pamela Reeves, medical center director, said in a prepared statement. “We do our best to show them how much we appreciate and admire the sacrifices they have made.”

According to William Browning, chief of volunteer and community relations, staff has planned programs that should appeal to all ages, veterans and nonveterans.

The event actually kicks off a couple days early at noon Feb. 12 in the medical center auditorium, where Vietnam veteran and ex-prisoner of war Digger O’Dell will speak on his six-year-long imprisonment in a Vietnamese prison camp.

From 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 14, the UAW Region 1 Veterans Council will pass out goodies to veterans outside room B1290 and at the Domiciliary Transition Facility; at 11 a.m., the union will host bingo in the closed ward and the long term care area on the same day.

A number of events also are scheduled for Feb. 16-18. For a complete schedule of events, call (313) 576-3340.

On Feb. 19 at noon in the medical center auditorium will be a screening of the documentary “Travis — A Soldier’s Story.” The film portrays the life of Travis Mills, who lost portions of both arms and both legs as a result of an explosion during his third tour of duty as a U.S. Army staff sergeant with the 82nd Airborne.

On the same day at 2 p.m. in the medical center auditorium will be a screening of “Flying for Freedom: Untold Stories of the Tuskegee Airmen.”

Volunteers are always needed at the veterans hospital. No medical experience is necessary and volunteers are encouraged to share ideas on how they would like to give back using their skills. For more information, call (313) 576-3332 or visit

The medical center provides services to more than 330,000 veterans living in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and St. Clair counties.