The Power of a Smile :: Senior Service at the VA Medical Center

For Hailey M., Althoff Catholic’s three-week Senior Service Project was the perfect opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to all of us; Veterans like her own brothers, Richard and Jason, who served in the Army. Hailey chose the VA Medical Center, Jefferson Barracks Division as her project site.

Hailey spent the majority of her time supporting the physical therapy department by transporting people to and from their appointments. While she was there Hailey learned how challenging it can be for people at the hospital and how some do not have an easy time participating in their own recovery. Hailey was also inspired by the dedication of the physical therapists even when working with challenging patients, and by the faith in God she saw demonstrated by several patients.

During her service, Hailey also learned the power of a smile. “I never thought a smile or a wave in someone’s direction could change the way they feel,” said Hailey. “I learned that small gesture can help people in their day-to-day lives.” Hailey’s goal is to carry this simple, yet important life-lesson forward into all aspects of her life. Hailey thinks senior service was a great experience and is thankful for the people she met and the situations she experienced.

Hailey’s interests include art, film and World War 2 history. She is currently considering going into the medical field and possible military service.

The mission of the VA Hospital is to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.


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