CalVet Connect highlights another hero among the staff members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in caring for our veterans and their spouses at our Veterans Homes of California during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BREAKING THE CYCLE OF BOREDOM WITH A DRIVE-BY PARADE
Washing hands. Wearing a mask. Watching your distance. These three statements were a mantra to keeping our residents, staff, and their families safe from COVID-19. Being safe was not enough; the restrictions on visits took a toll on our residents quality of life and their mental health.
The activities staff did all they could to keep the veterans busy with the usual crafts and activities; but, they were still isolated and experienced a cycle of boredom. How to break this cycle? One employee had an idea, developed it, and delivered.
Jazmin Gomez, a health records technician at the Veterans Homes of California-Ventura, took it upon herself to do something about boredom. An avid motorcyclist, the 10-year Home employee thought a motorcycle and classic car parade would offer a morale boost and break the monotony. So she used social media to gauge interest in the community, and set the event for May 25, 2020, Memorial Day.
The response was overwhelming — a community parade involving more than 100 motorcycles and classic cars. Some of the participants traveled more than 100 miles to show respect, encouragement, and love for the Home’s veterans and their spouses.
JAZMIN GOMEZ SAID: “Initially, I thought I could mobilize 20-25 motorcycles and classic cars. I was blown away with the results. The event kept on spreading and growing.”
A VETERAN SAID: “The encouragement received from the community parade not only brought smiles, encouragement, but tears of joy and gratefulness.” — Dick Dodd, resident for over seven years
THE HOME’S ADMINSTRATOR SAID: “Jazmin is an example of the staff that considers her job more than a profession but a calling and mission to serve our nation’s heroes without fail and unlimited care.” — Julian Bond