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April 2016

 

The Garden View project: Brightening veterans' lives
Cynthia Eaton

 

VA view 1
Dreary metal storage units dominate the view for veterans living in the Community Living Center at the VA Medical Center in Northport. The FA will contribute to efforts organized by member Ina Casali (English) to plant a perennial garden. (photo by Ina Casali) 

Ina Casali, adjunct assistant professor of English, opened the blinds during a visit with some of the 80 veteran residents in Building 92 of the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Northport. She was horrified by the view.

"This is their home," she declares. "The front of the building is attractive and has plantings, but the back has nothing."

FA activist Ina Casali, who serves as faculty advisor for the Student Veteran Association (SVA) at the Grant Campus, is determined to improve the quality of life for the veterans who reside in this nursing facility.

On Saturday, April 23, Casali and a group of FA officers and activists will volunteer alongside the three campus SVAs and other student groups to create an enjoyable and pleasant garden view for the veterans residing in this VAMC building.

VAMC storage unit
FA member Ina Casali is organizing The Garden View project to improve the quality of life for the 80 veterans living in Building 92 at the VAMC. (photo by Ina Casali) 

"They've served us," Casali says. " Now we can give something back by providing them with a perennial garden to remind them that their service to our country continues to be appreciated." She's determined to make a difference, to literally brighten these veterans' lives as they'll finally be able to open their blinds.

Casali continues, "The SVA members are not only excited about doing this, but emotionally attached to the project since these are veterans living in this nursing home at the VAMC. As often as they have been there, they did not realize how depressing the view from the residents' windows looks."

"The photos are depressing," Casali points out. "But being there is even worse."

The FA encourages members to join us on Saturday, April 23, at 9 a.m. for this important project. Contact Ina Casali for more information: casaliw@sunysuffolk.edu.