Virtual program

Tucson VA worker receives top honor for virtual program for isolated veterans | Local News

For veteran Ted Coleman, 79, and volunteer Tom Vida, 73, the program got them in touch regularly by phone or FaceTime starting last year.

Last week, the two met face-to-face outdoors in a location overlooking the colorful, flowery gardens of the Oasis Assisted Living Center where Coleman lives. Smiles broke out on their faces as they greeted each other. Both men received their COVID-19 vaccines.

The two often saw each other before the pandemic as part of a program that took veterans on outings, including bowling, zoo trips and picnics, Vida said.

Now they hope to resume their face-to-face visits and talk about their lives. Coleman, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, served in the Army Signal Corps from 1967 to 1972. After the service, he was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused paralysis, and he also lost his mind. seen from one eye. He moved to Tucson years ago and with the help of his father and physiotherapy, he learned to walk again.

Vida is a retired guidance counselor who has worked for the Catalina Foothills District. He volunteered in various programs at the VA Medical Center for 11 years. He and his wife lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before moving to Tucson in 1998.

“Tom is my friend. I like to talk to him. Our visits are a good morale booster. It’s a break from the routine here, and it connects me to the outside world, ”Coleman said.

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