BENNINGTON — Vermont Veterans’ Home in Bennington means so much more to Tina Cole than just a place to work.
For the past 34 years, Cole has served in three different roles: in the kitchen, housekeeping, and now as a licensed nursing assistant. Her brother and father, both veterans, worked there, too. Both of her parents were residents at the end of their lives, and she says she remains grateful for the excellent care they both received.
“I like working here because I feel I’m giving back to the men and women who fought for our freedom and our country,” Cole says. “The families I’ve met along the way have been amazing. You get to join their family when they bring a family member to you.”
The mission of the Vets’ Home is “to provide 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.”
The campus includes a deer park, a trout pond, a large pavilion, several gazebos and beautiful scenery. The building comprises 138 beds; eight of which are for independent living. Of the 161 full and temporary employees, 10 of them have worked at the home for 30 years each. That says something about the purpose-driven work, patient-centered care and camaraderie of this special place.
Full-time employees at the Vermont Veterans’ Home enjoy excellent benefits, such as medical and dental insurance, sick and vacation days, 11 paid holidays and retirement benefits.
Joyce Santacross, human resources administrator, has worked at the Vets’ Home for the past 18 years.
“I really enjoy coming to work every day and serving the employees. It’s a fulfilling position because I make a difference in employee’s lives, and I value that.”
She adds, “It’s good pay and has excellent benefits also. The people I work with are good to work with. They all serve the mission of helping the veterans. That’s why we come to work — to take care of them.”
The Vermont Veterans’ Home is currently recruiting for these positions:
Licensed nursing assistant
Licensed practical nurse
Food service worker (temporary and full time)
Veterans’ Home cook
Institutional custodian (temporary and full time)
Veterans’ Home clinical social worker
Therapeutic activities aide (temporary)
Santacross explains that the work schedule can be flexible, depending on the job and the needs of the specific department. Pay rate for food service and custodians starts at $14.88 an hour, a cook’s starting pay is $17.12 an hour, pay for a LNA is $18.01 an hour, pay for an LPN is $23.21 an hour. They have registered nurses (I) who start at $34.15 an hour and registered nurses (II) starting at $37.40 an hour. Salaries might be negotiable based on years of experience.
Cole concludes by telling a favorite story. “One Christmas 20 years ago, I was on shift to work that day. I sat in a rocking chair next to one of the veterans who lived there, and he said to me, “Tina, I’m sorry you have to work on Christmas and not be at home with your family!” I replied, “Sir, that is where you are wrong. I am with my family. If I have to be anywhere on Christmas, I’m glad I’m here with you.”
For more information about employment, contact Joyce Santacross by phone at 802-447-6535 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Vermont Veterans’ Home is located at 325 North St. in Bennington, VT 05201. For more information, visit its website at vvh.vermont.gov.