I would like to nominate Dat Hoang-Gia for his dedication and commitment that he has for the veterans at VA Palo Alto and Polytrauma Rehab, building 7D, where my son is a patient. My son was critically injured in a dirt bike accident, suffering from a TBI. This nurse has been a light of sunshine that has helped my son and family through this difficult time.
Dat is an extraordinary nurse, that consistently goes above his call of duty. Dat is known for his positive attitude and his ability to address the special needs of the veterans. Many people do not know this, but 7D has a personal barber/hair stylist. Everyone knows Dat as the 7D barber. He cuts not only my son’s hair but also anyone who needs a fresh cut. We understand the role of a nurse is non-stop. However, not once did he ever turn us away or say that he was too busy for a haircut. It was fun watching this nurse cut my son’s hair because it was easy to see how much he enjoyed helping the veteran.
As an active duty Army veteran, it is extremely important for my son to have a fresh haircut every two weeks. It is the culture of the military that Dat seems to understand well, and this is a wonderful service that he provides. There are times when my son’s commanding officers and military friends come to visit, and it is important for him to look his best in front of his colleagues. Not only does he look great, but he also feels great. It brings me great joy to see my son look in the mirror and smile with confidence again. He has been through so much since his accident. From the critical care unit to Polytrauma Rehab, it really means so much to me and my family to see our son smile and look like his normal self again.
Another example of how Dat cares for the veterans is by giving them special Polytrauma t-shirts. The shirts that he printed are wonderful because it gives the veterans a special feeling of being part of a team again. My son received one from this nurse. I remember, when he gave it to my son, he said: “only special patients get this tee shirt, the ones who work the hardest and never give up.” He made my son feel that his progress was valued and acknowledged.
It is sad to say, but Dat has recently moved to another unit. It was wonderful working with him and we miss the contributions that he has made on the unit and to the veterans. It is my hope that we can acknowledge the good work that he has done.