Milwaukee VA Medical Center
'Phenomenal' treatment: Milwaukee Vet lauds VA
“No legs, no problem” read the headline of the Milwaukee VA story that came out last year about Milwaukee Veteran Jim Jacobi.
Jacobi’s inspiring story of overcoming myriad physical problems – including having both of his leg amputated below the knees – with the help of the Milwaukee VA caught the eye of the Veterans Health Administration’s Workforce Management and Consulting department, which helps assure that all VHA sites are adequately staffed.
One of the department’s new initiatives, brought about by the All Employee Survey, is an annual awards ceremony, designed to honor outstanding employees.
The awards ceremony features a keynote speaker, typically someone inspiring who can reaffirm to employees VA’s mission.
This year’s speaker is Jacobi, a 76-year-old U.S. Army Veteran who served in Vietnam.
“Last year, just after our event, there was an article on Mr. Jacobi, and we thought he would be an amazing keynote speaker,” said Laura Pomeroy, a program and management analyst who works on the awards ceremony committee. “We held onto his name for a whole year.”
Pomeroy reached out to Jacobi via the Milwaukee VA, and Jacobi agreed to share his story, which will be delivered during the virtual awards ceremony on June 24.
In a video recorded earlier this month, Jacobi describes the many activities in which he participates with other Veterans dealing with physical and mental ailments, from the Walk a Mile or More walking club to numerous sports, including kayaking, archery, sailing and cycling.
“What I like the most is not the actual sports, but being with my (Veteran) brothers,” he says. “What a great feeling.”
But most of all, Jacobi emphasizes the great care he receives at the Milwaukee VA and how it has helped him.
“I don’t feel 76. I feel 50, and I feel wonderful, and I think it’s because of the treatment I’ve been getting,” he says.
“My experience at the VA has been 100% great. The way you get treated by everyone is phenomenal.”
And he offers some advice to his fellow Veterans getting care through VA: Treat the staff with respect, and do what they say.
“The staff is there to help you,” he says. “The most important thing you can do is listen. If you listen to the people who are training you to do what you have to do … you’re going to get better.
“Because of that, I feel wonderful. I don’t feel like I have a handicap at all, and my brothers don’t treat me like I have a handicap.”
Pomeroy said she is thrilled with the video and can’t wait to share it during the awards ceremony.
“It’s just phenomenal,” she said. “We’re just beyond excited and thankful. It will be perfect.
“We’re so thankful Mr. Jacobi was willing to do it. He’s a reminder of why we do what we do. We don’t see people on the front lines that much, so this is a great reminder and inspiring for us.”