Title

Social Worker & Veteran Harold Lindsay Continues Service To Community

Authors

David Braz

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date

8-22-2013

Campus Unit

College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines

Abstract

Harold Lindsay has spent the last 3 years working at the Veteran Administration Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota. Harold, himself a veteran, wanted to continue serving his nation and community after leaving the armed forces and believed that working at the VA would offer him the best chance of doing so. "My primary duties at the Fargo VA hospital is working with returning veterans in the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn program. I also work half time with Minority Veterans and this includes providing "Outreach Services" to our 8 American Indian Tribal Nations that fall under the umbrella of the Fargo VA Healthcare System." A major part of the "Outreach Services" involves traveling from Fargo to reservations, where he can interact with communities and ensure that veterans are receiving the benefits and resources they have earned through military service. Harold interacts with the Red Lake, Leech Lake, White Earth, Spirit Lake, Turtle Mountain, Three Affiliated Tribes, Standing Rock and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribal nations.

For Harold, making sure that American Indian Veterans receive access to health care is only part of his mission. He also felt the need to support the communities that he was engaged with to ensure that their needs were being heard. "The Flag ceremony was brought to my attention when I was doing outreach to the Tribal Veterans Service Officers. The decision to do the flag ceremony was a collaborative effort between the Fargo VA Health Care System and the 8 tribal Nations represented." The ceremony recognized and honored the 8 tribal nations who have sacrificed so much for the nation.

Harold is quick to point out that the sacrifices of the tribal nations come not only from those who serve in the armed forces, but from their families, communities, and tribes as well. "The flags symbolize a welcoming to the veterans when they come to Fargo for their healthcare needs. By being able to see their tribal flag at the VA hospital, I am hopeful that this will provide them with a message that the VA welcomes them and appreciates the service, sacrifice, commitment and loyalty, they have provided to our Country."

The VA Hospital also conducts health and benefits events to provide education to Native American Veterans. Currently the hospital attempts to hold at least two such events on each of the reservations. The events are also used as an opportunity to get veterans enrolled in programs that they are eligible for, and function as enrollment opportunities for the Compensation and Pension plans. The most recent events were held in October of 2012 and May of 2013. Harold is optimistic that the next event can be held in October of this year.

The response Harold has received form the communities has been positive. They speak with Harold about their support of their veterans, and are excited to see that their tribal nations are being recognized for their service. The VA Hospital has also partnered with the City of Fargo to access the cities sweat lodge to provide services for the communities.

Assisting Harold with the flag ceremony was Alex Roeder, who graduate this August with a Masters of Social Work. "Harold laid the ground work by building the relationships with the tribal nations over the years in his role at the VA. My role was to help bring everything together as the ceremony took a lot of planning." Recently, Alex returned to her previous location of employment as a behavioral health case manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. Alex is hoping to develop more experience in a clinical setting, and has interest in both the mental health field as well as community outreach to different cultural communities. "My experience with the flag ceremony will be one that is not forgotten."

Harold and His wife, Jenny Lindsay, currently live in Fargo. They are the proud parents of four children, Justin, Dejah, Ava and Lily. Harold graduated from the Social Work Department at the University of North Dakota. He plans on working for the VA until retirement.

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