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Fairchild leaders give thanks to veterans

Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Rix, 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief, gives a commemorative National Salute to Veteran Patients Week pin to Mike Olmstead Feb. 13, at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Washington. Olmstead served in the Army from 1944 to 1947 during World War II and is currently the community living center’s oldest resident. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Rix, 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief, gives a commemorative National Salute to Veteran Patients Week pin to Mike Olmstead Feb. 13, at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Washington. Olmstead served in the Army from 1944 to 1947 during World War II and is currently the community living center’s oldest resident. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Debi Mouser, Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center recreation assistant and Navy veteran, talks about her love of caring for veterans with Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Rix, 92nd ARW command chief, Feb. 13, 2017, at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Washington. Samuelson presented Mouser with a Fairchild Air Force Base pin for her service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Debi Mouser, Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center recreation assistant and Navy veteran, talks about her love of caring for veterans with Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Rix, 92nd ARW command chief, Feb. 13, 2017, at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Washington. Samuelson presented Mouser with a Fairchild Air Force Base pin for her service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, presents a Fairchild Air Force Base pin and commemorative National Salute to Veteran Patients Week pin to Marine retired Maj. Robert Thompson Feb. 13, 2017, at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Washington. National Salute to Veteran Patients Week is held the week of February 14 every year to say "thank you" to more than 98,000 veterans who are treated in Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, presents a Fairchild Air Force Base pin and commemorative National Salute to Veteran Patients Week pin to Marine retired Maj. Robert Thompson Feb. 13, 2017, at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Washington. National Salute to Veteran Patients Week is held the week of February 14 every year to say "thank you" to more than 98,000 veterans who are treated in Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Panama, Afghanistan and Vietnam are just a few of the locations Spokane veterans have served during their military careers.

92nd Air Refueling Wing leaders visited many of these local veterans Feb. 13, during National Salute to Veteran Patients Week at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane.

National Salute to Veteran Patients Week is held the week of February 14 every year to say "thank you" to more than 98,000 veterans who are treated in Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, outpatient clinics and nursing homes. During the week, a variety of events are hosted at VA medical centers nationwide to increase community awareness, pay tribute, express appreciation to veterans and encourage citizens to become involved as volunteers.

"It was a great experience visiting with the veterans at the VA,” said Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd ARW commander. “We are indebted to all the veterans who have come before us. This nation is strong because great men and women have chosen to serve it honorably and left a legacy of excellence to which today's military owes its success."

Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Rix, 92nd ARW command chief, joined Samuelson during the visit to the medical center. They talked with veterans from all branches including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Air Force and provided them with commemorative pins.

“It’s an honor to visit the VA hospital and thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice as well as to thank them for providing me the opportunity to carry on their legacy,” Rix said. “We also had the opportunity to thank those who dedicate their lives to caring for our nation's veterans.”

Throughout their visit, Samuelson and Rix were briefed on the new technology the VA is utilizing to improve patient care and also received a tour of the community living center where they met the CLC’s oldest resident, Mike Olmstead, a 98-year-old World War II veteran.

“It is important to have current military members come and visit veterans,” said Debi Mouser, Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center recreation assistant and Navy veteran. “It’s great for morale and brings back a lot of memories from their time in the service. Once you’ve been in the military, there is a sense of pride that is always instilled in you.”

For more information on National Salute to Veteran Patients Week and how you can help, visit http://www.volunteer.va.gov/NationalSaluteVeteranPatients or contact your local VA Medical Center.