Veteran Receives Surprise Birthday Party
By Quentin Melson
Last Monday at the Washington DC Medical Center (DCVAMC) Patient's Dining room, Jacob Fox, a Marine veteran, was surprised with a birthday party thrown by DCVAMC employees, patients and volunteers.
"The party was great," said Fox. "It's was not what I expected.'
Fox was assigned to the DCVAMC after an IED (improvised explosive device) injury he sustained while serving in Afghanistan. The IED blew off the lower portion of his right leg, delivered a compound fracture to his left foot and gave him second and third degree burns on his right arm.
After the injury, Fox was flown from Afghanistan to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Once discharged, he was assigned to DCVAMC as a part of IDES (Integrated Disability Evaluation System).
"IDES is a joint program between the DOD and the VA created to expedite the evaluation of our wounded warriors," said Patrick Joyce, MD, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health. "It is a great program that helps to create a seamless transition for Service members returning to civilian life."
The new program, which was enacted last April, partners the Department of Defense with the Department of Veterans Affairs in testing procedures to determine disability ratings. Previously, the two agencies conducted separate testing which led to long wait times to for Service members to receive a disability rating. Under the new system, veterans receive a single set of medical examinations conducted by physicians certified by the VA.
At the birthday celebration, cake and snacks were served and Fox was awarded a challenge coin by Medical Center Director Brian Hawkins, MHA. The Office of Compensation and Pension and the office of Occupational and Environmental Health were particularly responsible for putting the celebration together.
"It was the perfect surprise party," said Joyce. "All of us have been in a strange city, in a strange place and felt uncomfortable. I thought it was nice to have this celebration and recognize him for his service."
Fox will be heading back home to Blue Hill, Maine next week. The twenty-year old is hopeful for his recovery.
"This has been a good week," said Fox. "I look forward to going home, improving in my recovery and getting on with the rest of my life."
For more information on IDES, visit these DoD and Military Service resources.