THUMBS UP to Linda Flowers and Ben James for winning a third-place medal in a dance competition that was part of the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. They were honored at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center on Wednesday. 

Deborah Moreno, recreational therapist and creative arts coordinator at the hospital, said it was only the second time a couple from Muskogee had entered the dance portion.

Flowers and James met at an American Legion dance and have been dancing as partners for the last two years.

Flowers was a telecommunications operations specialist in the Air Force, and James, an Army veteran, served in the Seventh Cavalry. This year was the first time they entered the competition.

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THUMBS UP to Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) for providing the Caregiver Support Program and recognizing how important caregivers can be to veterans' health.

The Caregiver Support Program offers support services including training, peer mentoring, respite care, a telephone support line, and self-care courses for those who care for eligible veterans enrolled in VA health care.

The program is available through all EOVAHCS facilities and is empowering more than 300 families by providing them with the support they need to take care of their veterans.

VA is expanding the program and also is standardizing operating procedures for the program, providing new training and hiring additional staff. The new changes are a welcome addition to staff who work with caregivers and the veterans they provide care for.

“I was very excited to learn about the Caregiver Support Program, because caregivers and their families are on this journey, too," said Tammy Warren, caregiver support services coordinator. "They are the main support system for our veterans, and I enjoy providing them resources and support. The more we support and empower them, the better they will be able to take care of our veterans.”

For information about the Caregiver Support Program, call (918) 577-3421, visit the website or call the support line at (855) 260- 3274.

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