Daines honors Great Falls veteran for his work with the VA

GREAT FALLS – A Montana veteran was honored Wednesday morning for his work as a nurse practitioner with the Great Falls VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

Senator Steve Daines presented a congressional record to Jason Gleason after honoring him in November of 2018 when he spoke about Gleason on the Senate floor.

“It is such a humbling experience to have the Senator come to our clinic,” Gleason said.

Gleason retired from the Montana Air National Guard in 2015. He was the officer in charge of health and promotion, medical readiness, staff development, and was also assistant chief nurse.

“I know firsthand of the sacrifices they have made because I have lived it as a veteran myself. I am honored to come to work every day and there is no better patients on the planet than our veterans to take care of,” Gleason said.

During his time with the VA, he has helped fill critical positions by recruiting and mentoring other nurse practitioners.

He has also participated in a residency program that trains providers to better serve women veterans.

But in 2011, Gleason lost his first wife of 16 years to a stroke. She was only 40 years old.

“After that, I made it the anthem of my professional life, to take up stroke and be a stroke advocate, and provide stroke education. Not only in our state, but around the country. I often have the opportunity to speak in front of different groups and provide education. Also to learn a lot from national and leading experts in stroke care,” Gleason said.

Gleason and his three sons honored Daines by presenting him with an award from the family. It is called The Honorary Fifth Coyote Award.

After the presentation, Senator Daines toured the Great Falls VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic

“It is important to see firsthand what is going on here in Great Falls,” Daines said.

He added it was good to see the space they need because right now the clinic has a lot of constraints.

Currently, they are housed in only 7,000 square feet, but they will move to a new location hopefully by the end of the year.

“The new facility has 15,000 square feet. That is going to help us better serve our veterans right here in Great Falls,” Daines said.

Daines also spoke about how telemedicine is helping serve veterans in north-central Montana.

The facility in Great Falls serves veterans from Havre to Glasgow and all the way to Lewistown.

“By using technology, it can help bridge some of those gaps we have in geography, where technology can remove geography from being a constraint for getting good healthcare,” Daines said.

Daines said telemedicine can also help when weather and roads are bad.

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News