Message from the Director
To my fellow veterans, families, and veteran advocates,
It has been almost two months since the global pandemic reached Nevada's borders. It has affected all of us; medically, economically, and socially. While many are coping with fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation, this crisis has made us refocus and re-evaluate what is important. We also are reminded just how many heroes walk amongst us; caring for the sick, keeping our power on, protecting us, teaching our children remotely, and helping us access food and other essential supplies, just to name a few.
Nowhere was heroism better demonstrated than by our residents and team members at the Southern and Northern Nevada State Veterans Homes. We were sick with worry when the coronavirus surfaced at our veterans' homes, but our determined teams took aggressive infection control measures. Because of this, today we can report that our homes are free of this virus. We remain committed to do all in our power to keep it this way, but make no mistake, this is an insidious enemy and every day is a new battle. We have a long way to go before our amazing team members will be able to resume normal activities.
Even during this dark time, we have found there is still a lot to be grateful for. When we needed support, we received it and then some. Despite a nationwide shortage of test kits, we received enough to test all our residents and team members at both homes. We are grateful for the help and assistance we received from the Nevada State Public Health Labs and our Southern and Northern Nevada VA Medical Centers. With their help we were able to get the testing done and results back quickly.
We were also fortunate to receive a significant number of donations of personal protective equipment or PPE. While our supplies are currently adequate, we continue to ask for assistance and donations in securing PPE, such as medical grade gloves, surgical masks, and N95 masks. Thank you to everyone who made PPE donations and others who have been so helpful in ensuring that, except for one weekend where our imaginative staff repurposed biohazard bags as gowns, we never ran out. I highly encourage you to read about the many generous heroes who donated PPE under our Health and Wellness section of this e-newsletter.
One of the toughest things about the pandemic is the curtailment of volunteer activities. There is no group more generous with their time and energy than our Veterans community, and restrictions on community service weighs heavily on many. However, there are still opportunities to help our friends and neighbors while you are, "Staying Home for Nevada." This month we invite you use your time to enroll in and complete S.A.V.E training, a suicide prevention initiative of the Nevada Mayor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide. This 25-minute online training course is easy and can aid you in helping your veteran brothers and sisters. To accept the challenge, look under Health and Wellness Section in this newsletter.
Next, many of you have asked me about Memorial Day. On Memorial Day we anticipate being in Phase 1 of the Governor's Roadmap to Recovery. In this phase, gatherings cannot exceed 10 persons, therefore we will not be conducting in-person Memorial Day ceremonies at our cemeteries in Fernley and Boulder City. However, with the help of veterans' organizations and veterans across the State, we have created a superb Memorial Day tribute that will be released to the public and media outlets and shown on State of Nevada and partner websites. Our cemeteries remain open for visitation, but we rigorously enforce social distancing and ask that you consider wearing face coverings if you visit on a busy day, such as Memorial Day will be.
Finally, one thing lost due to the pandemic was the announcement of our SFY2019 Annual Report! It shines a light on the technology used over the year to better serve our veterans and their families. I could not be prouder of the NDVS team as this report highlights their outstanding work and commitment. Click the link to review the report:
The Annual Report allows me to end this message on a positive note. We will get through this. It is more important we continue to offer each other support and follow all guidance to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. The best way to defeat this virus is to stay the course and stay strong. And, if you or a loved one has suffered through illness or death, regardless of the cause, as always, our hearts and deepest sympathies are with you.