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Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

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The Launch 10th Anniversary Edition

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Lovell FHCC Monthly Newsletter - November 2020

A Veterans Day Conversation with Captain Lovell...

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From left to right: Dr. Robery Buckley, Director, Captain James A Lovell and Captain Thomas Nelson, Commanding Officer/Deputy Director stand in front of the Lovell FHCC facility on a cool fall day. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Minh-Thy H. Chu.

In honor of Veterans Day, the below is a transcribed conversation with our hospital's namesake, Captain James A Lovell, from our November 12, Tele-Town Hall.

Dr. Robert Buckley, Director: Yesterday was Veterans Day throughout America. The solemn tradition of honoring those who secured for us the peace and freedom we enjoy every day traces its roots back to the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—the precise time and date of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918—one hundred and two years ago this year.

Congress passed a law in 1938, officially making November 11th, Armistice Day, a national holiday. And in 1954, another law changed the name to Veterans Day, formally recognizing it as the time to honor all who have served.

On Veterans Day, we salute those who paid the price of freedom, from the "Minutemen" of the American Revolution to those men and women in desert camouflage who have fought and bled for our Nation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In honor of Veterans Day, we have as our special guest today a Veteran who took on the extraordinary risks of space exploration. He has achieved many “firsts” for humankind. He is a fellow Navy retiree, renowned astronaut, and our hospital’s name sake. We are excited to welcome Captain Jim Lovell to the call today. Hi Captain Lovell!

Captain Lovell: Hi, how are we doing today? I appreciate being one of the attendees today!

Captain Thomas Nelson, Commanding Officer/Deputy Director:  We're doing great! Thank you for being with us today Captain Lovell. It is an honor again to be talking with you. On today, the day after Veterans Day, I wanted to start off by asking you: What inspired you to join the military, and specifically, the Navy?

Capt. Lovell: Well it had to do with my background. My uncle was a Naval officer and aviator, and he asked me if i would join him in the Navy.  I applied for the Naval Academy, but before that I joined the Navy Aviation program and they put me through two years of college at Wisconsin. Then, that's when I applied for the Navy academy and I was accepted in 1948 and that's how my career started.

DIR: That is really cool Capt. Lovell. What stands out in your mind as the most important lesson learned from your military training that enabled you to handle the challenges of space travel?

Capt. Lovell: Well the training I got at the Naval Academy was very good, but also throughout my life I learned that being prepared is the way to go. If you look ahead and see what obstacles that might occur, and you try and formulate programs to overcome them, that was the way to go.

CO: Last question for your CAPT Lovell, having just celebrated Veteran’s day, why is Veterans Day meaningful to you?

Capt. Lovell: Well Veterans Day is very meaningful to me because it remind me of our country being independent and necessary. I always talk to veterans quite a bit, because I am one, and that reminds me why this is one of the most important holidays we observe.

DIR: It's always an honor to talk with you, is there anything else you would like to share with us and our audience today?

Capt. Lovell: Well, yes, I think we should all look forward to a very prosperous year and one in which we should all look to our veterans and thank them for what they have accomplished for our society. It is really an honor for me to be a veteran. Also, I'm honored to see the FHCC is doing such a good job for our veterans. I always enjoy going up there and seeing what you are doing and talking to the people involved and I'm hoping that the FHCC here will last an awfully long time.

Let's Get Social

FHCC has a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please see the links below to visit our social media sites. Below are the posts that received the highest engagement for the month.

Top Posts from our Virtual 10th Anniversary

Lovell Pioneers Video


We are very fortunate that many of the staff members working at FHCC were here when we integrated and became the Lovell Federal Health Care Center in October, 2010. Some were serving on active duty in the Navy at the time, and came over from the former Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes. Some were working for the former North Chicago VA Medical Center. We asked these "Lovell Pioneers" to share their reflections and unique perspectives on the anniversary. We thank them for their service!

Watch the full video here.

Captain Lovell Reflections Video

Lovell Reflections  

In honor of our 10 year anniversary, Capt. James Lovell spoke to us about some of the many artifacts he has donated to the FHCC - artifacts from his Gemini and Apollo missions in space, including logbooks, uniform patches and other parts of spacesuits and items from the spacecrafts. We treasure every piece he has given us, especially the stunning “Steeds of Apollo” painting that patients and visitors to the FHCC see when they enter Bldg. 133EF, the Ambulatory Care Center. 

View the entire conversation with Captain Lovell on our Facebook page.

Message to FHCC From Past Leaders

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We wouldn't be where we are today without the amazing people who were on the point of the spear during the past 10 years, leading the charge.

We invited past leaders to reflect on what the FHCC's 10th anniversary means to them.

Here's what retired Navy Capt./Dr. Jose’ Acosta, former FHCC deputy director and commanding officer, and former FHCC Command Master Chief Thomas Moore, had to say.

Their full remarks can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Our Virtual Celebration

Anniversary video  

COVID-19 didn’t allow an in-person event, but our senior leaders had an opportunity to express their thoughts about our 10th Anniversary in a Facebook Live session.

The full virtual ceremony can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Lovell Partners with Brushwood on Mural


Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Minh-Thy H. Chu.

The original story by Jayna Legg, Public Affairs Specialist, was featured in the October version of The Apollo. The below was abridged by Nick Sanchez, Public Affairs Specialist, for this publication.

The “stars aligned,” said FHCC RN Michelle Franklin, when she joined other FHCC staff members, veteran patients and community muralists to paint a mural in a busy section of the tramway at Lovell FHCC over the summer.

In a partnership between Lovell FHCC, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, and with funding from the McCormick Foundation and Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Cash Grant the more than 30-foot wide mural came to life.The mural depicts many aspects associated with the FHCC including a more than 6-foot tall portrait of the facility’s namesake, former astronaut and retired Navy Captain James A. Lovell. The mural also portrays an Apollo spacecraft next to the moon, the Lovell FHCC logo, a bald eagle, a serviceman silhouetted in front of a flying U.S. flag, and a veteran being cared for by a FHCC provider.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the need to socially distance, the mural was unveiled in a unique, pre-recorded virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 29 as part of the facility’s 10th anniversary celebration. Lovell, himself, visited the FHCC in September to see the mural and cut the ribbon. 

If you would like to read the full  story, on how the mural came together, that can be found in the most recent edition of the Apollo newsletter.

If you would like to watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony, that can be found on our Facebook page.


Lovell IT Department Makes it Work


The Information Technology Department (ITD) at Lovell FHCC is continuously faced with many challenging problems. Being the only integrated VA and Navy facility in the nation has it's perks, but often presents unique technology problems that no other facility faces. Under normal circumstances, this can be a very stressful and demanding job, however many new demands have been put on this crew as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. Throughout it all, Lovell ITD has made it work!

Recently, ITD leadership was faced with another challenge, how to celebrate their extraordinary team. Through some creativity they made it work, as they always do, and found a way to hold a socially distanced award ceremony.

The ITD awards event attended by VA, Navy and contracted staff members and was held in October. The team was congratulated on achieving an Employee Satisfaction Survey rating of 87 percent. ICARE and Employee Appreciation awards were given to more than 30 staff for exceptional performance.

Congratulations to all our hardworking Information Technology Department!

To view all the awards and photos from the event click here.