The Martinsburg VA Medical Center makes the safety of its Veterans and staff its number one priority. It also realizes the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its long-term care residents who are not able to regularly see their loved ones.

Recently, Serenity House – one of the facility’s five community living centers – debuted the first in a series of “virtual” vacations for its residents. Virtual vacations offer residents the exciting opportunity to travel without leaving the safety of their unit. This week’s destination: Alaska!

Northern lights

Veterans experienced the “Northern Lights” and painted what they saw.

“This truly is a team achievement,” said Janene Whitmore, nurse manager. “Every shift took a part in this creation for the Veterans who mean so much to them. I am so proud of their effort and think they should be acknowledged.”

Camping trip

The residents had the opportunity to go on a sightseeing tour, complete with a camping trip. The unit’s chefs prepared a special Alaskan-inspired salmon meal and, after dinner, the Veterans were treated to a virtual fishing excursion in the river.

The most exciting activity of the Alaskan was the Northern Lights Expo. Veterans one-by-one experienced the “Northern Lights.” As part of their therapy, they were encouraged to paint what they saw.

Their paintings and passport photos will be shared with their loved ones.

Stay tuned for more virtual vacations brought to our Veteran residents by the Martinsburg VAMC.

By Chiray Weatherholtz is a public affairs specialist with the Martinsburg VA Medical Center

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Published on Sep. 3, 2021

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