Gratitude from U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs for NH PPE effort

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New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (left) and Dean Kamen on Nov. 20, 2020, receiving PPE at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

As the nation’s largest healthcare system, the sheer volume of PPE required to keep this vulnerable community safe is tremendous. Over the past months, these patriotic heroes, acting as a coalition, have delivered 4.5 million masks, 7 million testing swabs, 8.5 million disposable gowns and 15 million disposable medical grade gloves, with more gloves on the way.

I wanted to publicly thank all those who have done so much to keep our nation safe especially my fellow colleagues as well as the 9 million Veterans we care for.

I am asking all of your readers and the New Hampshire community to help me celebrate Dean Kamen, the Inventor who sponsored and spear-headed these efforts and his wonderful team at DEKA Research & Development Corp., including Julie Charron, Heather Freeman, Brendan Duffy, Renee Lanoie, and Maureen Toohey.  I would also like to offer a special thanks for the above and beyond efforts of Fritz Morgan.  Fritz worked every connection he has across the globe to secure this PPE for VA and applied his vast knowledge in overseas customs.

Key to the deliveries process is Steve Dalzell, Senior Manager with FedEx who went above and beyond prioritizing flights, coordinating local receipt of the PPE for VA and ensured that all were safe as we celebrated each incoming flight.  Richard Collins, Supply Management Specialist, VISN 1, inspected and ensured the integrity of the PPE received.   Under the incredible leadership of Major General Mikolaities, who also rolled up his sleeves during the off-loading process, the entire NH National Guard helped VA to get all its PPE to their last leg destinations.    In addition to being ever available in the effort to protect healthcare workers and Veterans alike, Governor Chris Sununu and his team made this coalition possible by providing the administrative link to process these shipments through New Hampshire.

These heroes, each who have foregone personal liberties to assist at a moment’s notice, have exemplified the highest levels of professionalism and selflessness; they are heroes in the fight against COVID-19 and they live in your community.  This Thanksgiving, I am asking that you please join me in giving thanks for their compassion, selflessness and determined collaboration in this extraordinary effort to save lives.  Each of them stands as a model of what makes Americans so special and what we can accomplish together.

Sending holiday wishes of gratitude, good health and peace.

Deborah L. Scher

Washington, D.C.


Deborah L. Scher is Executive Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Veterans affairs, leading the Center for Strategic Partnerships in the US Department of Veteran Affairs.