The Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award recognizes and honors outstanding members of society whose lives model the giving spirit and unconditional service to community, nation, and humanity without regard to race, religion, or creed exemplified so dramatically by the Four Chaplains.

For this reason, Marcus Hives, a health technician at the Baton Rouge Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, was recently presented The Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award.

Hives continues to go the extra mile to take care of everyone in his clinic. He continually places the needs of others before him, which is the embodiment of the Four Chaplains. To be considered for this award, one has to have marked a change in his/her organization above and beyond that of a professional resume.

The Four Chaplains story is legendary: While aboard a sinking ship with a limited number of life jackets, Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Rev. George L. Fox, Rev. Clark V. Poling, and Rev. John P. Washington helped soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their life jackets so that others could live. The chaplains joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

“The story of the four chaplains means putting others before yourself, going the extra mile, and getting the job done,” said Hives.

Hives serves as an inspiration to all those around him, to include our Veterans, volunteers, and team members, so much so that Baton Rouge employees and volunteers have a motto: When in doubt, call Marcus.

Hives, a 19-year VA employee, wanted to give back to the men and women in uniform who served.

“I decided to work for the VA because I wanted to serve those who served,” said Hives. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is to see Veterans smile.”

Growing up in Baton Rouge, Hives witnessed first-hand the sacrifices Veterans make while serving our nation. Hives’ father was a World War II Veteran, and he has two brothers who served in the military.

“Veterans are in love with Marcus. They rely on his expertise and knowledge. He is very helpful and will do anything to ensure the Veterans have a positive experience,” said Anthony L. Smith, a Baton Rouge clinic administration specialist.

“The employees rely on him to help assist in registration and scheduling when possible,” Smith added.

The employees of Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System have a collective commitment to excellence in customer service, which results in excellent customer experiences. There have been numerous occasions when troubled patients have come to Hives with grievances and leave with a smile on their faces.

“Customer service never suffered when Marcus was present. He is very uplifting and brings smiles to anyone that comes to our facility,” said Smith.

When the interactions between VA employees and our Veterans are positive, our Veterans will trust and choose VA for their care and benefits. As of June, when our Veterans were asked, “Do You Trust VA?” 89 percent said yes.

This is a testament to the outstanding job VA team members like Marcus Hives continue to do day in and day out.

“Marcus is a very outstanding and loyal gentleman. He brings much-needed excitement and joy to our facility. He has a true passion for our Veterans and will always go that extra mile for anyone. We are so lucky to have him working in this facility,” said Smith.

Tramel Garrett is a public affairs specialist at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

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Published on Jul. 14, 2019

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