Department of Veterans Affairs
Health Resource Center
4800 Memorial Drive, Bldg. 90
Waco, TX 76711
Dear Ms. P-------:
Last week after my classes with Mr. M------- had ended and I was filing out of the door with my colleagues, I turned to Ms. M--- J---- B----, the senior contact rep assigned to the class and said, “Thanks for all your help.” She, of course, responded that she had enjoyed assisting us, and then off I trundled down the hall; nonetheless, it occurred to me as I wandered off to strengthen the skills I’d gained in class, skills that she had a little something to do with, that a mere “thanks for all your help” wasn’t nearly enough recognition for all she had done for my classmates and me over the couple of weeks we were learning CRM, CAPRI, and VistA.
To be sure, both Mr. M------- and Ms. B---- had their jobs cut out for them with my class. I came to view them as serving as a platoon leader and sergeant, in a way. G---, calling cadence at the head of the class, taught the lessons, led the exercises, and kept the unit marching toward its learning objectives. It fell to Ms. B---- to play the role of the sergeant following behind the platoon to hurry the stragglers along. In contrast to an actual sergeant in a more martial setting, however, M--- J--- approached each straggler with a confidence-building smile and offered encouragement, knowledge, and advice. There were times that a PCC recruit’s confidence could have been snuffed out like a cigarette butt, but I never once saw anything but encouragement emanate from her every word and gesture.
I, personally, waited to put her to the test on the very last day of training. We were working on referrals, and, for whatever reason, my brain just wasn’t firing on all pistons that day. I bet I raised my hand for M--- J--- more on that one day than I had in the previous two weeks. I really figured I’d wear out my welcome before it was all over, but I was not, as yet, fully aware of M--- J---’s tremendous capacity for compassion. Each time I started to lag behind the PCC Platoon, M--- J--- would appear and cheerfully march alongside me, shooing me away from disaster and right back into the ranks. How does one do anything other than succeed under such conditions?
I’m painfully aware that this feeble attempt to recognize such professionalism and compassion isn’t exactly coming from a lofty source that can provide a bonus or a day off. I don’t have those things to offer. I do, however, have two things I would like to give her through you: my profound gratitude and respect.
George W. Reamy