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Windber hospital salutes its veterans

It was just a lapel pin and round of applause, but Army veteran Sylvester Baran said Monday’s VeteranCare reception was the most meaningful honor he has received for his service.
“I thought that was one of the nicest programs anybody could have done,” Baran, 77, said after the Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber event Monday in WindberPlace conference center.

Baran has been employed for 16 years as a courier for the medical center. He was among 36 hospital employees, physicians, volunteers and board members recognized Monday for their military service.

The program introduced VeteranCare, the medical center’s new focus on responding to the unique health care needs of military veterans, hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Cliff said during the program.

“Hospital staff will go through ongoing training to better understand some of the unique needs of veterans,” Cliff said.

Beginning in December, patients will be asked if they served in the military so veterans can be identified for all staff members to recognize, Cliff said.

“The actual nuts and bolts of the program will be further communicated later in November,” Cliff said. “Before we communicated it any further, we wanted to recognize our own veterans.”

Monday’s event was planned as surprise for the honorees, who were informed only that the program required their attendance.

Baran said it was inspiring to be recognized at the same ceremony and in the same manner as the hospital’s physicians and leaders.

“It is great to compare the board (members) to the regular employee,” Baran said.