National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic (Why choose VA?)

As a licensed or degreed professional, you often have many employment choices. Even in today’s job market that remains true for many health care providers. While VA offers some of the best employment benefits around, it is the “why?” that I want to address today.

Last summer, I had the privilege of promoting careers with VA at the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic in San Diego. For one week, 100 Veterans from all over the US came together to learn how they can get back to living. Achieved by participating in activities that most of us take for granted, or never take the time to learn (e.g. cycling, surfing, kayaking, sailing, rock climbing, etc.). Why is this important? Because some of these fine men and women are missing limbs, their sight, or suffer from PTSD or TBI which limits their everyday freedom. However, during this occasion, the spirit of Americas Warriors was alive and well. They did not have a disability this week. They climbed and pushed, swam and rode, never looking back. The volunteers assigned to assist them, were often left in their dust. When asked if they had had enough, it never crossed their minds.

We ate lunch with our Heroes and listened to their stories; listened to them laugh and tried not to tear up when they recounted their experiences. Something about Veterans spending time together opens up conversations. One young Veteran pulled off his shirt when he mentioned his “living memorial” and displayed his tattooed back adorned with the names of his platoon mates that paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. He will never forget them. He told us how he gave up when he got home. How part of his face was gone, how he had to learn to live again. He had gained a lot of weight and drank excessively for about two years. But today he barely drinks, has got his weight back down to where it should be and is living life again. He has come so far and has made great strides to recovery, and VA has played a big part.

At the end of the week, the pride of achievement that comes with competition was evident as our Nation’s finest cheered, and slapped each other on the back. Hugs were shared, tears were shed and many laughs were had over the challenges they overcame that week.

In the end, it is our patients that make VA such a great place to work. So what are you waiting for? If you serve as a Health care Provider, I encourage you to apply today.

For eligible Veterans interested in participating in this rewarding, fun event – registration is now open. You can get more information by checking out the event’s web page.

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About Darren Sherrard

In May 2008, Darren Sherrard was appointed as the Associate Director of Healthcare Recruitment and Marketing Office (HRM) at Veteran Health Administration (VHA) Workforce Management and Consulting office (WMC). As Associate Director, Mr. Sherrard oversees VHA’s national recruitment marketing campaigns inclusive of television commercials, print and online media, and recruitment marketing sites. He leads a diverse marketing team representing VA Careers Website, Facebook, Twitter and VHA Recruitment Events. Mr. Sherrard coordinates strategies, campaigns and effective approaches to effectively carry out HRM’s mission of “driving qualified candidates to VACareers.va.gov.” Prior to joining VHA, Darren was Chief Operating Officer of a Healthcare Staffing Firm which he modernized from a small regional company into a thriving national corporation. Darren served 20 years in the U.S. Army; 13 of which were spent in Recruiting. During that time, he was known for his ability to transform low performing organizations through training, motivation and ability to develop and provide needed recruitment tools. Darren is devoted to finding the best talent to provide the best care for our Nation’s Veterans.

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