, Muskogee, OK

November 13, 2012

Veterans deserve each thank you

— Any person who defends this country deserves the best possible health care and our eternal thanks.

Two services at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center are good examples of giving back to veterans.

Both services are to be applauded.

The first program is a simple, but thoughtful idea.

Anyone who has been to the center knows that finding a parking space near the building can be troublesome.

The center now offers free valet parking for veterans.

Each veteran is greeted with a thank you upon arrival.

The valet attendants will not accept tips for themselves. They will accept tips as donations to the Voluntary Services department, which helps veterans in many ways during their stay at the VAMC.

Valet parking will be available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Drivers only need to bring their cars to the main entrance to use the service.

Veterans and their families also can receive a visit from Echo, a 5-year-old Collie.

Terry Keith, of Tahlequah, brings Echo to the center once each week to visit.

Echo enters each room, tail wagging, and puts her paws on the side of each bed so a veteran can rub her furry neck or feed her a little treat.

Keith said she brings joy to many.

“I’m a homebound vet, and I only get out once a week and it’s with my dog to go see those guys, because they’re important to me,” Keith said. “She is exclusively for the men and women who have gave of themselves to defend this country. I owe it to them and that’s why I do what I do.”

Both ideas give back to veterans who deserve every measure of thanks possible.