VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Public Service Recognition Week
Surrounding a decorated meeting table in the VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation, a group of wounded warriors quietly settles into a warm bowl of homemade clam chowder sprinkled with bacon.
Determined to break the silence is Dave Hyman, who immediately launches into a story from his days as a Navy seal. Finishing his story to laughter and amazement, he encourages the whole group to each share a thought or fun story, slowly pulling any introverts comfortably into the conversation.
“Breaking bread is the best way to get to know each other. I didn’t come back with any injuries or having to experience horrific trauma so I’m thankful and know this is the least I can do,” said Hyman, who has been providing free gourmet meals to Veterans and service members at the Program for the past few years.
Dave Hyman served his country from 1974 to 1978 with hopes of being a photographer and getting that great GI bill touted by Uncle Sam. However, life had more in store for him as he ended up training to be a Navy seal, gaining a world of experience from a different perspective.
His life brought him full circle when his 29 years in the catering industry and membership in the Redwood City Rotary Club connected him to PTRP.
It is no surprise Jenn Holden, a close friend who uses his commercial kitchen for her non-profit work, jumped on board to help out.
For the past four years after founding her non-profit, Angel Food, Holden has helped people in need around the Bay Area, from providing snack bags for children from low-income families, to celebrating birthdays at homeless shelters.
“I had no experience working with Veterans until now,” said Jenn Holden, who now is on a first-name basis with a few wounded warriors on the unit.
They not only serve savory dishes but also create a full dining complete with tablecloth and fancy dinnerware, decorated with the theme of that month. This time happened to be close to Valentine’s Day, so hearts where in abundance in between each place setting.
Topping it all off with a dessert that looks like it should be on a high-end bakery shelf, this meal is a great example of the amazing volunteerism at VAPAHCS.
Many people, including volunteers, have dedicated their life to public service. During Public Service Recognition week we want to recognize all staff and volunteers who give unselfishly of themselves in support of public service.
Learn more about volunteering at VA Palo Alto Health Care System on our website.