Veterans Volunteer to Serve at UAMS

By Spencer Watson

Organized by the Veterans Subcommittee of the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Veterans’ Day of Service offered the opportunity for employees and students who are veterans to register and volunteer at sites around the main campus in Little Rock. That work included staffing entry screening stations, working at the contract tracing call center and helping at the Stocked & Reddie food pantry.

The effort to coordinate all these volunteer efforts at the same time and staff them with veterans both highlighted their willingness to serve and provided a way for fellow employees to recognize and thank their veteran coworkers.

“Many of us work next to veterans every day without ever realizing it. With this event, we wanted to give everyone a chance to meet these selfless individuals and recognize their service,” said Odette Woods, senior director for staff diversity, equity and inclusion.

The day of service was part of Veterans Awareness Month, during which members of the committee also worked to give back to active duty, reserve, guard members and veterans. It created an online fundraiser through which employees could easily donate to the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. The committee also shared links through which UAMS employees and students could purchase care packages online to be delivered directly to veterans at Fort Roots.

“The pandemic prevented us from collecting items and delivering these care packages ourselves, as we’ve done in years past,” said Woods. “But it’s important to show those who have served they still have a tremendous amount of ongoing support from all of us at UAMS.”

The committee also arranged for all veteran employees and students to receive a certificate of appreciation signed by Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and UAMS Health CEO, and created and shared a toolkit for departments throughout UAMS to organize their own individual veterans recognition events during the month with items such as signs and thank you cards.