Since my early childhood years, VA has always been part of my life. I remember my weekly visits to the Veterans hospital (as it was known at that time) in Puerto Rico to visit my father while he was receiving health care services.
ARMY Tank Mechanic Roberto Quinones (Vietnam, 1966-1968).
As the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran with several challenges, I was always very aware of the needs of Veterans and their families. I grew up with the certainty that every day would bring one more battle, and early in my life I decided that I wanted to dedicate the rest of my existence to serving and easing the pain of those who, like my father and my family, were willing to sacrifice all and courageous enough to continue fighting even in the most difficult circumstances.
I joined the VA in an informal way. While I was in high school in the 1980s, I served as a volunteer at the VA Medical Center. This experience, along with the desire I already had to make a difference in the lives of men and women who once served in uniform, inspired me to pursue a career path at VA. Many years have passed since then, and each new year strengthens my commitment to be part of the solution to the challenges the VA faces.
The VA is now undergoing the largest transformation in its history. As VA employees, my co-workers and I have been supportive of and actively involved in this process, putting into action the VA organizational values – integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence – to make the necessary improvements toward transforming the VA into the high-performing, Veteran-centric organization our Veterans deserve. We are convinced that, in these times of uncertainty and rapid change, our focus on our Veterans must be our constant. Changes will continue, but Veterans will always be there expecting our utmost respect and service.
I also want to take this opportunity to highlight the observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15). As a very proud native Puerto Rican, I want to salute all Hispanic-Americans and Latin-Americans and to recognize their contributions to the United States through their important presence in the armed forces and the VA workforce.
I want to make a call. If you are driven to high-quality service and enthusiastic about providing both excellent service and health care, and an exceptional experience of care to all Veterans, please consider joining our workforce. VA is looking for people with passion for their careers and a commitment to our Veterans. Even as a volunteer, you can make a difference. Let’s be part of the solution! Every Hispanic Veteran like my father, and Veterans of all cultures and origins will appreciate your service.
Interested in joining our team? Go to the VA Careers website to find out more about careers in VA and open job opportunities.
Editor’s note: Our feature image is from Wednesday, April 13, 2016, when the Congressional Gold Medal was bestowed upon the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment, the hard fighting military unit from Puerto Rico, at Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol. The “Borinqueneers” proudly served beginning in WW I and continue as a fighting unit today. (VA photo/Robert Turtil)
Edda Quinones-Romero, M.D., currently serves as the chief of Compensation and Pension (C&P) Service, at VA Northern California Health Care System. She is responsible for overseeing and managing clinical and administrative operations of the largest VA C&P program in her region. The Northern California program provides disability evaluations to Veterans in collaboration with the Veterans Benefits Administration and fitness for duty examinations to Active Servicemembers who are in the process of being discharged in partnership with the Department of Defense in several joint programs.
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