HAMLIN—Office staff at the Hamlin Family Health Center (FHC), a part of the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC) network, displayed great reverence for local veterans with a series of activities throughout the month of June, ending in a $160 contribution to the American Legion Post 807, SSgt Paul A Sweeney, Hamlin, PA.

According to Janice McConnell, Hamlin Family Health Center Practice Manager, the activities began as a suggestion from Tammy Budnovitch to create a Veterans Resource Table to sit in the center's waiting room in May, June, July and November in support and appreciation of armed services men and women for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

With help from Denise Matern, Office Supervisor at Hamlin FHC, Practice Manager Wynter Newman of the Honesdale VA Outpatient Clinic, and Maria Diehl of the Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH) public relations department, the resource table “was a hit,” said McConnell in an email, “our veteran patients were so grateful that we had acknowledged, valued and thanked them.”

McConnell noted the office provided green lightbulbs from the Honesdale office and flashlights from WMH public relations which together were “Shining a light on your service,” as was their catchphrase.

This initiative itself sparked the idea for an all-office collaboration as Hamlin FHC held a Patriotic Team Door Competition where “...we transformed our office into our good old Red, White and Blue,” said McConnell.

Noting the idea came from Becky Shiffler, CMA and Krystle Mady, LPN, McConnell's email stated, “Hamlin's resource/awareness tables and doors became topics of conversations revealing how much we all had in common and a reminder to always Thank our Service men and women and our Veterans.”

In the midst of their door decorating, Hamlin FHC held a dress down day on Flag Day, raising $160 which was then donated to Hamlin's American Legion Post 807.

The check was presented by Daniel Harmuth, FNP-BC and Tammy Budnovitch on behalf of WMCHC Hamlin Family Health Center and given to Post 807's Commander Walt Hyzer and Vice Commander James English.

“It is a true pleasure to be apart of an office and an organization that genuinely values giving back to our patients and our community,” said McConnell in an email.

The Practice Manager further noted collaboration both within the Hamlin office and the rest of the WMCHC is encouraged.

“Cohesive teams are more successful and that is why we work collaboratively within our office, with our other locations and with our resources within the Wayne Memorial Health System,” said McConnell in an email. “Innovation is encouraged and our collaborations are purposeful. Here in Hamlin, we pride ourselves on establishing relationships with our patients and their caregivers. That's why it is so important to us to have a 'relatable environment'.”

She added, “Our office votes on what to celebrate on our 'photo wall'. Whether it be showing off our pets, taking a guess at a baby picture or honoring our Dad's in June, our patients love walking by looking at our photo's discovering things we have in common.”

In addition to honoring and assisting local veterans, Hamlin FHC has also been involved with the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force to learn and educate more about the opioid crisis, collected and donated items to Kate's Wish for Wellness Chemotherapy Comfort Bags, and participated in the Holiday Toy Drive and Zipper Junction Project.

Throughout July, the office's focus will be on generating sock donations via another dress down day to “Spare a pair for the homeless.”

Collected socks will be donated to the Salvation Army for distribution.

“Here in WMCHC Hamlin Family Health Center, our team is always exciting about being apart of more,” said McConnell in an email. “We all have someone we know who has been affected by illness, cancer, drug addiction, homelessness, etc. We also all have someone we know who has a friend or family member who has served our country.”