Military veterans group creates culture of service and support
According to Sonya Randazzo, Scheduler in Surgical Services at Rapid City Hospital, the best thing you can do for a military veteran who is a patient or fellow caregiver is to be compassionate and listen to their story. “Listen to what they have to say,” she said. “Let them tell their veteran story. It’s important to them.”
Sonya served in the U.S. Army from 2008-2012 as an Operating Room Specialist (Surgical Technologist). She is now chair of Monument Health’s Military Veterans Group, a fairly new organization that has an important to-do list. Right now, they’re working with Information Technology caregivers on a process of identifying veteran patients in our hospitals. The hope is that when these patients are in our care, a member of the Military Veterans Group can make time to visit them, thank them for their service and assure them they’re in good hands.
Michael Morford, Human Resources Business Partner and one of the founding members of the group, said members of the group would also like to outline a process for paying proper military customs and courtesies to veteran patients who pass away in our hospitals.
In addition to the initiatives geared toward veteran patients, the other purpose of the Military Veterans Group is to make sure veteran caregivers and providers feel a sense of appreciation and belonging. Michael, a retired First Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, said his interest in starting the group materialized when he realized how many military veterans were working at Monument Health but had not identified themselves as veterans.
Sonya said the group creates another opportunity for its members to serve. “Even though you are no longer in the military, the need to serve is still there.” She added that it’s also nice for members to be able to hear one another’s stories of service and to help other veterans in our community. The group has been involved in placing American flags on graves at the Black Hills National Cemetery for Memorial Day as well as passing out special badge holders for veterans at Monument Health.
Currently, 250 caregivers and providers are self-identified veterans. Monument Health considers a military veteran to be anyone who has ever served in the military, in any branch, for any period of time. “We are proud of our many veteran caregivers and are thankful for their service to our country and for their continued service in support of our patients,” he said. Michael encourages all leaders to help in identifying all veteran caregivers within Monument Health. Questions regarding the group or how to be added can be directed to Michael.
“We have an amazing group of veterans who are passionate not only about their job but in helping other veterans,” Sonya said. Thank you to all veterans and their families. Your sacrifices and service are appreciated throughout Monument Health.