During the COVID-19 pandemic, Birmingham VA licensed practical nurse Cindy Jones worked on the frontline risking her own safety to the help take care of Veterans living in the Gadsden community.

VA Director Dr. Oladipo Kukoyi and Dr. Laura Edwards, telehealth nurse manager, present the Legion of Honor Medal to Telehealth Technician Pamela Chaviers, (center), in honor of late nurse Cindy Arlene Jones.

Jones lost her battle with COVID-19 in December 2020.

The Alabama State Nurses Association recognized Jones for her devoted care to her patients and for making the ultimate sacrifice. Similar to the military’s Medal of Honor, the Nurse Legion of Honor Medal awards nurses who have demonstrated extraordinary courage in the face of unusually dangerous circumstances.

Birmingham VA Executive Director Dr. Oladipo Kukoyi presented the medal during a ceremony at the Gadsden VA Clinic to remember and honor Jones.

Placing patients above self at some risk is characteristic of nursing in general. This award also honors those nurses who have died in the line of duty.

Pamela Chaviers is an advanced telehealth technician who worked alongside Jones for years. Chaviers was thrilled to see her dear friend recognized for the dedicated service she provided to Veterans throughout the community.

She made sure Veterans got what they needed

“She was dedicated, especially to the Veterans and the nursing profession all together,” Chaviers said. “And she would go above and beyond for the Veterans to make sure they got what they needed.”

The medal was presented to her surviving children, Daryl Dempsey, and Christie Dempsey Smart, exactly one year after their mother’s passing.

“This year has been pretty rough,” said Dempsey. “But she was so full of love and was a very caring person. She would go out of her way to help anybody. This job was perfect for her.”

By Frank Sanchez is a public affairs specialist for the Birmingham VA Health Care System.

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Published on Jan. 14, 2022

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