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Veterans Canteen Service (VCS)

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Veterans Canteen Service (VCS)

Established in 1946, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) was created to provide articles of merchandise and services at reasonable prices to Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare system, caregivers, and visitors. Since its conception, VCS’ mission continues, incorporating a strategic Veteran-centric approach emphasizing the importance of service to Veterans and supporting VA’s overall mission. VCS provides retail, food, coffee, and vending services across the country.

WW2/Korea Vet Hats

VCS Hero

OKC Holiday Heroes

Veteran Bill Brown, wife, and Gainesville Canteen Chief Scott DiffenderferWW2/Korea Vet Hats

Many Veterans show their pride by wearing service hats, broadcasting the conflicts in which they served, from World War II through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Bill Brown, a Veteran of World War II and the Korean War, reached out to the Gainesville canteen about replacing his aging service hat, Canteen Chief Scott Diffenderfer started making calls to acquire two hats for Brown. Apparel vendor Eagle Crest procured the hats, but upon learning of the hats’ intended recipient, Eagle Crest overnighted two hats to the Gainesville location for Brown – at no charge.

“Eagle Crest (was) honored to ship these hats to Gainesville without cost to the VCS or the Veteran, so he could replace his WWII hat,” said Eagle Crest’s Todd Porter.

Brown, 92, said he was thrilled to receive the hats and blessed to have them gifted to him from Eagle Crest.

“I cannot thank (Eagle Crest) enough for taking the time to ship these caps to the Canteen for the Veteran without a cost,” said Mark Thomas, a buyer for VCS. “This by far shows that (they) continue to support the VCS Mission without personal gain!”

Cynthia and man she savedVCS Hero

VCS Food Service Worker Cynthia Rodriguez saved a man’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver when he was choking.

She noticed one of her regular customers at the El Paso canteen was standing and pointing at his throat during his lunch; his face was red. Without hesitation, Rodriguez rushed over to the man and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the food from the man’s throat.

“I was excited I saved somebody,” Rodriguez said. “It was a blessing to help him.”

This was not Rodriguez’s first experience saving a person’s life with the maneuver. Four years ago, she saved a patient’s life at a prior job with the technique.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Richard Monarrez, the El Paso Canteen Chief. “We’re happy to have our own little hero here.”

OKC VCS TeamOKC Holiday Heroes

Five Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) staff members are spending the holidays helping prepare and deliver meals to patients at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. Deployed to the medical center Dec. 20, the team will help through Jan. 2.

The team is filling positions for the VA Nutrition & Food Service Department (NFS), which has seen increased needs for meals due to an influx of patients and ill staff from COVID-19. The pandemic has caused a surge of patients, doubling the number of meals needed. The VCS staff members will fill positions with NFS to cook, assemble, and deliver meals for Veteran inpatients.

“We are supporting cooks and foodservice workers by preparing menu items, portioning food on to patient trays, and delivering trays to patients,” said Daniel Walsh, a buyer for VCS Food Operations. “Our time in the kitchen alongside the VA staff has been a very positive experience; they are grateful for our support and our team is eager to assist the VA and serve Veterans in any capacity.”

Another team will deploy to Oklahoma City the week of Dec. 27 to continue serving the inpatients into the new year.

[From left to right:  Andrew Groh (Food Specialist), Forest Hardy (Dallas Assistant Canteen Chief), Beth Pond (Sioux Falls, Assistant Canteen Chief), Tenshi Daniels (Dallas Food Supervisor), Daniel Walsh (Food Buyer)]

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