BENNINGTON — At the Vermont Veterans’ Home, the nurses, aides and other staff tend to stay for the long haul.
The workplace culture is defined by a deep sense of camaraderie, driven by respect for veterans and their families — all accepted at the care home, with a total of 138 beds, eight of which are in independent living units. Its mission statement reads: “The Vermont Veterans’ Home provides best-of-class health care services and advocacy for veterans, their spouses and gold star parents, while honoring their choices and respecting their right of self-determination.”
“There really is a sense of community here, because everybody does share, maybe not the same past, but components of the same past,” says Melinda Crowl, Vets’ Home marketing and admissions coordinator. “There is a lot of respect for our veterans from our staff.”
For nurses, nursing assistants, kitchen aides and custodians seeking a new, welcoming place of work, the Veterans’ Home at 325 North St. has varied opportunities available. There are now several openings for full-time registered nurses on evenings and nights, an opening for a nighttime nurse at 24 hours per week, and an opening for a daytime nurse for 32 hours per week. Starting pay is around $30 to $36 an hour.
There are also several openings for licensed nursing assistants in the evenings and for licensed practical nurses during the day. Starting pay for these positions ranges from around $17 to over $22 an hour.
“We encourage education and bettering yourself in your position, so there is a lot of opportunity to not only move up, but to improve yourself in the position you’re already in,” Crowl says.
There are three open positions for institutional custodians and two positions for food service workers, all paying $14.45 an hour, and a position for a Veterans’ Home cook, at $16.62 an hour.
There are also temporary positions open for people who might be looking to work, but not full-time. For updates and to apply for any of these roles, visit humanresources.vermont.gov/careers and search for positions in Bennington.
Crowl says some former employees enjoyed working there so much that they return as a temp, post-retirement.
“There are a lot of long-timers here,” she says.
In addition to the sense of community, another great part of working at the Veterans’ Home is a sense of history. The building, formerly called the Soldiers’ Home, dates back to the 19th century, with much documentation of its storied past. According to the home’s website, the original estate was constructed in 1860, and in 1884, the state General Assembly appointed trustees and authorized $10,000 for care of Civil War-era veterans. The first of 25 residents were admitted on May 18, 1887. In 1971, the Soldiers’ Home was renamed the Vermont Veterans’ Home.
“A lot of us, we feel like we are part of the history,” Crowl says. She recently celebrated her 20-year anniversary of being employed at the Veterans’ Home.
The home boasts spacious hallways and rooms, with a fresh and clean feel.
“If you walk around the halls here, you just can hear the laughter, and the aides joking with the people and the veterans joking back,” Crowl says. “Somebody said to me one time that we may not have chandeliers and fancy furniture, but what we don’t have, we make up for in our camaraderie and our community. That laughter and freeness and easiness in the air makes up for all that.”