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VA Southeast Network (VISN7)


Birmingham volunteers help Veteran

Navy Veteran, John Simpson, center, stands with the volunteers in front of the newly built raised garden bed Oct. 22, 2021 (Courtesy Photo).

Navy Veteran, John Simpson, center, stands with the volunteers in front of the newly built raised garden bed Oct. 22, 2021 (Courtesy Photo).

By By Emily Smallwood, BAVAHCS Public Affairs Specialist
Monday, November 8, 2021

Navy Veteran, John Simpson has been gardening all his life, but since being diagnosed with his health condition, his mobility hasn’t been the same. Simpson was in need of a raised garden bed to continue his passion.

“Gardening gives me something constructive to do instead of being in the house doing nothing,” said Simpson. “It gives me peace of mind and it’s calming and soothing for me.”

Making the project possible

After being referred for the project, Birmingham VA Outreach and Krulak Marine Alliance of Alabama provided volunteers to build a raised garden bed for Simpson. This was a combined effort sponsored by The Home Depot in Trussville, Alabama who supplied materials for the project.

“The volunteers were second to none and it’s hard to beat that,” said Simpson. “They enjoyed what they were doing and made it a comfortable environment for my family and I.”

BVAHCS volunteers that helped make the project happen

Among the volunteers were Amanda Hart, BVAHCS social work services, and Ashley Davis, BVAHCS mental health services.

“You get a different interaction and perspective visiting with Veterans outside the hospital and in their home environment,” said Davis. “It was nice going out into the home and getting our hands dirty and having fun, while also doing something good for the Veteran and his family.”

Hart and Davis went above and beyond to give individual attention to the family and provided additional VA resources for them. 

“It was great to get out there and interact with the Veteran one-on-one,” said Hart. “It was a fun individualized project and reminded me of why I became a social worker.”

The final product

Since the completion of the project, Simpson said he’s been enjoying his garden and has started to see little green sprouts coming through the mulch.

“I can’t wait for Springtime to really get busy in the garden,” said Simpson. “It’s also a family thing for me, especially with my granddaughter - she likes to get out there in the dirt with me. I’m very thankful to be able to continue gardening.”

To learn more about these types of projects and programs, please contact John Pinion at 205-887-5835. To learn more about BVAHCS, visit our website at


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