Recently, as part of the 2013 Support our Local Hospitals initiative under KRA’s 5th Annual Community Care Day Campaign, 16 CTWorks staff and family members volunteered at the Newington VA Hospital, planting more than 400 flowers, bushes, and shrubbery around the facility to help beautify the grounds. Jerry Santostefano, KRA Customer Service Representative, reported “It was a Saturday, spent on hands and knees, digging in the good earth to plant happiness and the sweet smell of flowers. It was a warm day, so everyone gave up a little, um…sweat to help make life a bit sweeter for the deserving Veterans, who are residents or patients at the Hospital. It gives them beautiful, bright-colored flowers along with green shrubbery and bushes to see outside their windows. Nature has a way of making life a bit better by offering up colors and smells that brighten the spirit.”
Wendy Garcia, Unit Supervisor in the Enfield Office, and KRA Community Care Day Coordinator for the CTWorks One-Stop Program, commented, “Of course, none of this was possible without our wonderful staff and their families, including my own husband and our two kids, volunteering for this very special project. I hope we can publish all their names* because they really deserve recognition for their selflessness, community spirit, and devotion to our local Veterans. And, I have to thank Home Depot for helping us make this happen. They were very generous by donating flowers, bushes, and shrubs for the project. It was a true Community Care Day event to say ‘thank you’ to our honored Veterans here in North Central Connecticut.”
After the event, Garcia received a message from Kristy Rene MacLeod, Voluntary Services Specialist, which read, “Without CT Works the beautification project at the Newington VA Hospital would not have happened. The flowers and trees that were planted helped to cheer up the grounds and our Veterans. I have received many compliments from Veterans, Staff, and the Director about how amazing the flower beds look. We appreciate all your volunteers did for us and our Veterans.”
*Fulfilling Garcia’s “hope” for public recognition of the volunteers, here is a list of the wonderful individuals, who made the Support our Local Hospitals project a success: Hartford Office – Mark Allen, Transitional Employment & Retention Specialist; Myrna Fienman, WIA Career Agent, and her husband; Earl Gardner, WIA Career Agent; Keisha Ramos, JFES Career Agent, and her daughter; Marlo Smith, JFES Career Agent; and Jay Wood, Veteran’s Representative. Manchester Office – Maritza Morales, Unit Supervisor. New Britain – Brenda Perez, Program Assistant, and Lillian Ruiz, WIA Career Agent, and her sister.