The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks provided a picture-perfect setting for Veterans and their family members at the Ozarks VA’s health summit mid-September.
The summit was an outdoor event that allowed attendees to learn, explore, connect and interact with other Veterans, VA program representatives and community partners in a welcoming setting. Whole Health provided lunch, drinks and snacks to all attendees.
Veterans and their families enjoyed the flowers, trails, and outdoors while visiting more than 80 booths, which provided information about services, enrollment in VA care and free Veteran-focused organizations in the community.
Army Veteran Debby Holmes gained a lot of appreciation and understanding for the wide array of VA services. “I came away with VA contacts and knowledge to better navigate the VA system. The event was wonderful. It was filled with ease and it was first class,” she said.
Maria Turner trying out her new bike from Pedal it Forward
Summit introduced numerous VA services
Under a large circus-like tent, on a big screen, visitors saw an educational video on whole health, trauma recovery, mental health, and evidence-based psychotherapies and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
The video also covered suicide prevention, LGBTQ+ services, caregiver support, foster care, moral injury, intimate partner violence and peer support services.
The one-hour educational video was available for attendees to view later and share with other Veterans on YouTube.
“The feedback from the Veterans and staff who attended has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Recovery Coordinator Allison Wright. “One Veteran drove 108 miles to attend and several Veterans were connected with mental health services. I had numerous conversations with Veterans who told me the event made it easy to learn about services in a comfortable environment.”
“Ozark VA is first class health care.”
The Health Summit provided the 476 attendees with opportunities to engage in experiential activities, visit with VA staff, listen to live music and meet community organizations that provide services to Veterans.
Barber school students provided 60 free haircuts to Veterans, “Songs and Voices” played live music, “Pedal It Forward” gave away 50 bikes on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the Botanical Gardens gave away 250 free passes to Veterans.
“Ozark VA is first class health care. We have never been treated better anywhere,” said Marine Veteran Duane Turner. His wife Maria said, “The summit is like a re-start to getting back to health.”