VA Maryland Health Care System
VA Maryland Employees Goes the Extra Mile
When Joyce Turner, LCSW-C, arrived to work on Monday, July 7, she expected an ordinary day. She knew that some dignitaries would be visiting the Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic in Cambridge, Md., where she is a social worker serving Veterans, but even that seemed routine. What Turner didn't expect was that the dignitaries were planning to present her with recognition for a job well done.
"We worked hard to keep it a surprise,” said Karen Windsor, nurse manager for the Cambridge and Pocomoke City VA Outpatient Clinics. "Joyce has been a real asset to our team here on the Eastern Shore. She also works at the Pocomoke City clinic too, and always keeps the Veterans' best interest at heart,” said Windsor, who worked with Rev. Trish A. "Chief Priest” Hopkins, PhD and representative of the National Native American Veterans Association.
Rev. Hopkins, a lifelong Eastern Shore resident, had long noticed that Turner, without fail and always with a smile, "went the extra mile” to serve all Veterans. Hopkins believed that Turner's status as an unsung hero needed to be rectified, especially these days, "in the light of the present difficulties in the news about the VA system. I've been coming to the VA for 43 years and have gotten good care,” Hopkins said. "Joyce always made sure I was able to get to my VA appointments, regardless of where. She made a few phone calls and then she'd call me back with transportation arrangements done.”
Impressed with Turner's dedication and positive attitude, Hopkins wanted to do something special to recognize Turner's outstanding attitude and stalwart dedication. "It is, indeed a breath of fresh air to find an employee of the caliber of Joyce Turner.
She demonstrates daily the quality of care that each and every Veteran seeking service within the VA deserves,” Hopkins said. "I don't think I have ever seen her without a smile.”
Hopkins presented Turner with a Certificate of Appreciation for "tirelessly giving her time and of herself to all Veterans, regardless of heritage, ethnic background, race or religion. This award is only a small token.”
The presentation also included a Peace Pipe, handcrafted on the Eastern Shore in traditional Native American style. The pipe's mouthpiece and bowl consist of Old Growth Japanese Cherry, while the stem is comprised of California Spruce, inlaid with American Black Walnut rings and attired with traditional beads and feathers.
Dorchester Delegate Addie Eckardt added to the extraordinary events of the day by presenting Turner with a proclamation from the county and state.
"I'm totally surprised! The staff here now tells me that they have known for maybe a month, and I never had a clue,” Turned said. "I'm still stunned, still processing it. Ms. Hopkins gave this a lot of time and effort. I really appreciated having Addie there, she has such a busy schedule.”
Turner always knew she wanted to work in a helping profession. Turner, who has spent her 22-year-long career serving the community in which she was born and raised, earned her bachelors in social work from Salisbury State College and her masters in social work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 1992. She began working for the VA Maryland Health Care System's Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic in 2000, first as a Primary Care social worker for the 7,000 Veterans enrolled in the Cambridge and Pocomoke City clinics.
The Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System, offers Veterans living on Maryland's Eastern Shore access to quality outpatient care in a welcoming facility. Veterans can receive coordinated care, physical examinations and preventive health services. The clinic also provides specialty services including, but not limited to anticoagulation services, audiology, psychology, optometry, women's health, pulmonology, urology, and social worker services. The clinic's robust Telehealth program serves Veterans in rural areas and is comprised of a variety of services such as Home Telehealth, Telemental health and Teleretinal screening. Outpatient laboratory services are also available.
James D. "Many Dogs” Cates, chairman of the National Native American Veterans Association signed the Certificate of Appreciation. The National Native American Veterans Association is a national 501-C, non-profit Veterans Organization helping all Veterans regardless of heritage.