Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Linda Henry: Making the first impression count
Many Veterans that come to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center are greeted by a smiling face, thanks to full-time front desk receptionist Linda Henry. Her positive attitude and willingness to help anyone and everyone to her fullest extent can be seen by those around her and is recognized throughout the medical center.
Henry, a U.S. Air Force Veteran of more than 13 years, describes her job as the "best job in the hospital."
"You never know who you are going to see or meet sitting at that front desk," Henry explained. "And you never know what someone might be going through or what they are currently dealing with. Veterans come to our VA for many different reasons."
Some Veterans come to VA facilities simply to be around other Veterans and as a Veteran herself, Henry thinks this is a great thing.
"As Veterans, we are all able to relate to each other in some way," Henry said. "Some Veterans don't have anyone else so it's nice that there are people here to be there for them."
Henry is one of those people. Whether greeting patients and visitors, directing those who need it around the hospital or reaching out to find an answer if she doesn't already have it, she makes customer service her top priority.
"I do my best to take a few minutes and speak with our visitors," Henry said. "We want to make sure their visit at our VA is excellent and most of the time it starts with that front desk area, so I'm sure to help in any way I can."
Henry explained that sometimes a smile and "good morning" can go a lot further than someone might think. Her favorite part of the job is sharing stories, meeting different people, and making life-long friends in the process--some of whom are also female Veterans.
First introduced to VA as a patient, Henry transitioned into her career at the Charleston VAMC through a vocational rehabilitation program known as Compensated Work Therapy. Henry's medical issues began making the physical demand of the housekeeping service difficult, and she was notified of this position by a coworker.
She didn't know much about the position in the beginning, but certainly has no regrets in taking it. Henry humbly explained that when she goes home for the day, she feels like she has helped in one way or another to make other people's day better.
"Life is good," Henry says. "I couldn't ask for anything better."