More than 200 Eastern Oklahoma VA employees and Veterans participated in the first Whole Health Veterans Week in November with a walk.
The Whole Health team at Eastern Oklahoma VA, who organized and hosted events with support of fellow staff, invited employees to put on their walking shoes, sport their best yellow and celebrate Veterans.
The walks, held in Muskogee, Tulsa, Vinita, and McAlester, focused on honoring Veterans while also promoting the benefits of exercise and self-care.
Whole Health Clinical Director Dr. Nathan Williams was excited to see the level of participation from throughout the health care system and grateful for everyone involved. “We had such a wonderful turnout. It was a meaningful time for our facility to be able to focus on those who have given so much for our nation,” Williams said.
Mayors proclaim Veterans Appreciation Week
Both Tulsa and Muskogee city mayors supported the initiative by proclaiming the week “Veterans Appreciation Week.” The Muskogee mayor also walked in the event.
There were remarks by Whole Health experts, guest speakers and special demonstrations. Then a two-kilometer walk commenced for everyone who wished to join the celebration and get some steps in.
In addition, snacks and refreshments were available along with yellow ribbons for employees and Veterans.
One of the guest speakers in Tulsa, Dr. Uma Koduri, worked closely with the Whole Health team to hold the event at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic.
Yellow stands for hope and happiness
“We promoted ‘Wear Yellow’ for Whole Health and obesity awareness,” said Koduri. “We chose the color yellow as it stands for hope, optimism, energy, motivation, joy and happiness.”
Koduri had previously organized similar walks with much success and brought the idea for a Veteran Walk to the Whole Health team. The goal was to bring awareness about the impact of obesity on Veterans’ health.
Whole Health Coordinator Joan McWilliams says the team is looking forward to doing more in the future. “This year was just the beginning. We are looking forward to expanding these types of Whole Health-focused events. Veterans Appreciation Week will be held every year now and we are already working to build an even greater event next year. Thanks to everyone who participated. Hopefully, this event was as meaningful for them as it was for the Whole Health team.”