Local churches, civic groups and emergency management services rallied with a parade of more than 78 vehicles to show their appreciation for Columbia VA employees’ dedication in caring for our nations’ heroes.

Local Columbia-metro law enforcement, fire and EMS services joined the appreciation parade.

David L. Omura, Columbia VA Director and a sign that says “Thank God for the VA.”

The staff at the Columbia VA have not wavered in their dedication and commitment to serving Veterans during this unprecedented time. Their hard work and commitment to serving America’s heroes has not gone unnoticed.

In the photo above, participants in the appreciation caravan display signs showing their encouragement and support to Dorn VA employees.

Parade organizers wanted VA employees to know how much the community appreciates them.

Organizer and pastor Sammie Wade said, “It’s always great to encourage others and show support for what they bring to the table. The VA health care providers are certainly doing their part and more in these difficult times.”

Positive feedback

David L. Omura, Columbia VA director/CEO, greeted staff as they arrived to work and was pleased to hear their thoughts about the parade.

Gigi Woods, a Redcoat Ambassador, said, “I was just blown away. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It’s absolutely amazing! For them to give their love to us this morning, this was unbelievable.”

Omura reflected, “It’s all about the staff. We need to show them how much we appreciate them and recognize the contributions they put in each and every day for our Veterans.”

The show of support and appreciation deeply touched many employees. Shirley B. King, a registered nurse at Columbia VA, said, “Today, on my way in to work, I was amazed at the sight of all the support from the fire department, sheriff department and Veterans’ groups. It was a grand parade of lights, sirens and hand waving thanking the VA health care workers for all we do during this pandemic.

Emergency vehicles lead the parade.

“Tears filled my eyes over my mask, knowing we are all in this together. A shout out to all who come to work every day and make the sacrifice.”

Participants of the parade included members of the following organizations:

  • Richland County Sheriff’s Department
  • Richland County Coroner
  • Columbia Police, Fire and Emergency Management Services
  • Lower Richland Veterans Formation
  • South Carolina Combat Veterans
  • Mt. Nebo Baptist Church and St. John Baptist Church both from Eastover, S.C.
  • Several other Lower Richland County churches and civic groups.

See Omura and Woods’ conversation on the Columbia VA Facebook page.

Marlous Black is a public affairs specialist with the Columbia VAMC.

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Published on Jun. 2, 2020

Estimated reading time is 2.3 min.

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One Comment

  1. Emily June 30, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Thanks for posting such an inspiring blog post

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