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Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC


Garden of Peace Opens at Dorn VA Medical Center

Guests exploring the new healing garden located on the Dorn VAMC campus. VA Photo: Kevin Lee McIver

Guests exploring the new healing garden located on the Dorn VAMC campus. VA Photo: Kevin Lee McIver

By Kevin Lee McIver, Public Affairs Officer
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Partners, Veterans, and families joined William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center staff on campus last week to celebrate the opening of the new community healing garden named the “Garden of Peace.”

“Healing gardens provide a holistic approach that is important in the continuum of care for the total person—mind, body and spirit,” said Interim Director Carolyn L. Adams at the ceremony. “This is also important for our staff—for they too must be fit to care for our Veterans.”

The garden was inspired by Dorn VAMC staff Dr. Mary Ellen Howell and Dr. Debbie Herman. Dorn VAMC Engineer Charles Bradley brought the vision to life as he created the unique design that was constructed by Construction Services Group.

Other staff and stakeholders participated from inception to fruition including Chief of Voluntary Services Tammy Finney—whose vision included involving Veterans and volunteers in this project.

Adams also thanked other groups and individuals instrumental in the project including Dorn’s Veteran Service Organizations, the Mental Health Veteran Advisory Committee who inspired the name “Garden of Peace” and 7 Oaks Nursery for their beautiful plants.

She also extended her gratitude to artist Tommy Olson for his artwork and to Navy Veteran and poet—David Rea for his inspirational poetry. There was one last person who was recognized that was also instrumental in completing the project.

“Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not give a final thanks to our acting Coordinator of Patient and Family Centered Care—Karen Scott—for if it was not for her passion for this project it is likely that we would not be gathered here today,” said Adams.

As the ceremony drew to an end, Adams cited the inspiring words of President Barack Obama who said during his Veterans Day remarks at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11, 2012, “In this country we take care of our own—especially our veterans who have served so bravely and sacrificed so selflessly in our name. And we carry on, knowing that our best days always lie ahead.” 

Adams closed the ceremony with, “Ladies and gentlemen, our best days do lie ahead and this project is a shining example of our diligence to make great things happen for our Veterans.”

Photographs of the Garden of Peace can be seen at



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