VA Maryland Health Care System
Remembering Martin Luther King
January 12, 2016
First observed on January 20, 1986, this year the nation will pause and reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on January 18. The celebration of Dr. King's birthday has become not only a day of remembrance, but also a day of service. This great humanitarian once said, "Anyone can be great because anyone can serve…All that's required is a soul full of grace…and a heart full of love.”
Dr. King's dream represents our country's highest ideal – that all people are created equal, and he understood that freedom comes with a cost and a burden. The burden is service to something beyond you. The cost is the blood, sweat, and tears wrought for that service obligation. Dr. King laid down his life for that ideal. Our Veterans have also laid down their lives, minds, and spirits for that ideal goal as well. Dr. King altered the social conscience of our nation and forged the common ground on which Americans from all walks of life could stand together. Service to others, he realized, was the great equalizer. Diversity was central to Dr. King's vision and is a key value for our VA workforce.
Dr. King's vision of service and his strong moral purpose inspired all of us to believe we could be better than we are. He taught us that our faith can redeem us, individual sacrifices can sustain us, and moral courage can guide us.
At the VA Maryland Health Care System we honor Dr. King's principles in the care of our Veteran patients. Our commitment to patient and family centered care and to our core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence ensures that our Veterans receive the care they need when they need it. More than 3,000 employees make patient and family centered care their daily focus. In addition, nearly 1,000 volunteers from every corner of the community serve throughout our health care system, performing a range of tasks that are best suited to their skillset. They drive vans transporting Veterans to and from clinic appointments, and they escort patients within our facilities. We consider volunteers to be our hidden gems, linking Veterans to the community. The marriage of employees and volunteers both serving Veterans translate into a healing environment that welcomes and nurtures Veterans and comforts their families.
Dr. King also said, "You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.” In short, this means that you too can serve. For
information about volunteering at the VA Maryland Health Care System, you can visit our webpage at http://www.maryland.va.gov/giving/volunteer001.asp to fill out an online application.
Adam M. Robinson, Jr., M.D.
Director, VA Maryland Health Care System