When a Veteran at VA Central Iowa Health Care System asked if he could present a Little Free Library book exchange to the facility, staff members never expected the story behind that box would be just as charming as the stories and books it would hold.

Chris Tucker, a VA peer support specialist and Army Veteran, is passionate about helping his fellow Veterans work towards recovery.  Part of that recovery is knowing how to communicate effectively, regarding health care and beyond. Working in the Therapeutic & Support Employment Services department, Tucker can be found building up Central Iowa Veterans and showing them the power of communication and recovery.

VA peer support specialist and Army Veteran Chris Tucker created a Little Free Library for VA Central Iowa Health Care System.

VA peer support specialist and Army Veteran Chris Tucker created a Little Free Library for VA Central Iowa Health Care System.

Tucker served as an Engineer Sergeant with two combat deployments.   As a Veteran, he is the first to say he’s inspired by VA’s mission to care for those who have “borne the battle” and  the dedication of his fellow staff members who demonstrate the VA core values – integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.

After hearing about the Little Free Library movement, which aims to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free community-based book exchanges worldwide, Tucker knew a little library was the perfect addition for the Iowa facility. Tucker used an old military grenade box, which served as an excellent base as it was already the perfect size and shape.  He also knew its meaning would strike a chord with fellow Veterans.

Tucker and his daughter then turned this case into a charming “book house” with a beautiful window, gable and even a picture of President Lincoln. Tucker notes that the project also provided bonding time with his daughter and reinforced her already deep love for learning and reading. Seeing the effect it had on her, Tucker knew it would have an impact on each Veteran who shared a book through this library.

The choice of books in VA’s Central Iowa Health Care system box are powerful – they have the ability to take area Veterans on adventures, teach new skills and share wisdom across generations.

So, the next time you see this or any other Little Free Library across the country, stop by and check out this charming community builder. Feel free to share your love of literacy and drop off a book or two and don’t forget to take a new title home with you.

About Little Free Library

A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. Little Free Library book exchanges have a unique, personal touch. There is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community; Little Libraries have been called “mini-town squares.” Find out more at http://littlefreelibrary.org/

This article was provided by the VA Central Iowa Health Care System and originally appeared on their website.

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Published on Mar. 10, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

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  1. Thomas Worley March 13, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    First I am thanking ALL my fellow Veterans and all present Military and Civilian Personal who has participated and continue to guard our efforts to ensure our world a safe place to live and support our families and friends of other Nations. Our sacred vow to defend or die is our vision of the freedoms we hold close to our hearts. My first contact with the VA was in 1972. At this time the VA was trying to diagnose me as Paranoid Schizophrenic. Paranoid yes, Schizophrenic, I was not. I was ordered to Vietnam January 26, 1966. I was assigned to 505th Graves Registration. I had only been to an occasional funeral. This duty shattered my internal and external belief system. The destruction of bodies is overwhelming and there were Many. I lost count after the first thirty days. I remained in the Enlisted Reserves or National Guard for 18 years with some breaks after I completed my required obligation to my country. After Vietnam it was difficult to sleep. The flashbacks and nightmares of the war was devastating. In 1982 I was awarded ten (10) percent for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I continued to appeal this award. In 1992 I was admitted to the VA Hospital for two weeks due to my drug use and self medicating trying to forget the war and bodies. In 1993 I was admitted to the VA Hospital for four (4) months for treatment of PTSD. I was denied an increase in my rating for PTSD. In 1994 I was in the VA Hospital for three (3) months for PTSD and again denied an increase in rating for PTSD. In 1995 I was in the VA Hospital for PTSD for another three (3) months. In August of 1995 I was awarded 100 percent for PTSD. I appealed this decision because my family and I had suffered badly financially throughout all the years of delays and denials and my inability to work. I appealed this decision to the BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC 20420. This court remanded this case back to Denver Regional Office on March 18, 2013. On March 18, 2013 this case was sent back to Denver Regional Office and was ordered and afforded expeditious treatment. On January 06, 2015 this case was ordered back to the Denver Regional Office and also stated matter must be afforded expeditious treatment. Must I say Anymore?
    Thomas Worley

  2. Thomas Worley March 13, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Why are my comments not being accepted?

  3. Mary K. Pulaski March 10, 2016 at 11:15 am

    My grandad has kept on promoting knowledge about our history in our family, when he returned from Korea. He passed away in 2006, but his legacy continues in the family, and today my kids are avid readers, especially about history! Thanks a lot for allowing knowledge to spread, hopefully our generation wan avoid the mistakes of the past while still honoring our fallen heroes!

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