Dr. Jesse Dominguez, CCN Region 4 Optometrist, has served Veterans under VA community care since 2015. He and his staff consider it a special honor to care for Veterans at his practice in Phoenix, Arizona.
As a young boy, Dominguez recalls spending nights at a close friend’s home whose father served in Vietnam. In the middle of the night, Dominguez would sit and comfort his friend’s dad who suffered from vivid war flashbacks.
This experience had a profound impact on him as a young man, leading him to go out of his way to show appreciation to every Veteran he meets, especially at his office.
“They become part of our family.”
“I truly believe that every day is Veterans day,” Dominguez said. “These Veteran patients don’t just come to get glasses from us. They become part of our family.”
He has gone even further to show appreciation, thanks to the efforts of a military spouse at the office, by creating a Veteran wall of appreciation. Dominguez asks each Veteran for permission to take their picture to include on the wall after their visit (pictured above).
“I end every Veteran patient encounter by telling them thank you and sharing that I’m so grateful they are home,” he said. “Not every service member got that opportunity.”
Another memory Dominguez will never forget is with a long-term Veteran patient with glaucoma. He wasn’t feeling well one day and was seeing double vision, so his wife brought him into the office.
Sent patient having stroke to the ER
Although an extremely busy day, Dr. Dominguez dropped everything to check on him without an appointment.
After a brief discussion, Dominguez realized the patient was having a stroke and sent him straight to the ER.
“To this day, that Veteran patient still says, ‘Dr. Dominguez saved my life.’ I see it differently,” he added. “I just took care of someone important to me. That’s what we’re supposed to do. They’re our heroes, not the other way around.”
To learn more about a Veteran’s eligibility for community care, please visit our general community care page.
Gabrielle Holak is a program analyst with the VHA Office of Community Care.