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AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 2014

AVASW Social Worker of the 3rd Quarter
Galen Britain, LCSW

Galen Britain

AVASW is proud to select Galen Britain as the Social Worker of the 3rd Quarter! Mr. Britain currently serves as the Social Work Executive at Black Hills (Hot Spring), SD VA, as well as the VIST Coordinator. He divides his time between supervising future licensees, supervising up to 34 Clinical Social Workers, as well as newly graduated Social Workers, all the while coordinating care for visually impaired Veterans. Mr. Britain states that the Black Hills VA gets “quite a few new graduates from around the country”, which gives him the opportunity to “shape and mold”, and pass on his vast wealth of VA and Social Work knowledge.
While working with the visually impaired Veterans, Mr. Britain balances the needs of the Veterans with his Executive duties.  He helps veterans in the VIST program maneuver through services and processes, including connecting them to the Blind Rehab regional center at Hines VA in Chicago.  The Executive duties called upon for this position are varied in depth, skill requirements and tenacity, and can include substituting for temporary staff, interviewing and hiring new staff, being a liaison between Social Work and service lines. Mr. Britain does that with grace and ease few can match, and ever so much more.
Mr. Britain graduated from George Warren Brown School of Social Work, working with families, then, adding case management and becoming Social Services Director for a community Health Care Center in Wyoming. When he went to work at the VA as an Addiction Disorders Social Worker, he brought his passion of learning and teaching, and became the MSW Field Placement Coordinator as well. Bringing his expertise to the position, he added Acting ADS Coordinator to his list of duties, as well as Acting RRTP Chief!
He is BCD designated, as well as a long time member of AVASW, and past Executive Committee Member. He had been very active with the Hybrid 38 conversion, serving on National committees including the National Education Committee, as well as thewell as the nation Social Work Professional Standards Committee. He just rotated off the LPC Board. In the past he was instrumental in helping bring the The National Veterans’ Creative Arts Festival to the Black Hills, which is held in different parts of the country annually.
In the course of his career, Mr. Galen has been not only a supervisor, but a supportive and dedicated mentor to many Social Workers.  Mr. Britain in his words, is a family man, married to a Clinical Social Worker and they are raising two wonderful children. He enjoys fishing and the outdoors, working in his yard and occasionally reading “when I have time”.
Regardless of the pressures of the job, Mr. Britain is ever the professional. He models himself in a way that gives others the opportunity to pursue their passion, as well as being a role model for those new to the profession.

Congratulations Galen!

 

AVASW Social Worker of the 4th Quarter
Kemia Shaw, LCSW

AVASW is proud to select Keemia Shaw as the Social Worker of the 4th Quarter! Ms. Shaw currently serves as the Lead Clinical Social Worker for the Community Living Center at the Durham, NC VA Medical Center. She states that the DVAMC Clinical Team is the best team in the VA! Other collateral duties include being the Respite Coordinator and Lead Clinical Transplant Social Worker and is certified as such.
 Ms. Shaw is a graduate of Fayetteville State University, and has been with the VA nearly eight years. Prior to working at the VA, Ms. Shaw worked in the community serving children and families as a team leader.  While these jobs alone have kept her busy, she has also made it her mission to volunteer for various committees including the Safe Culture Committee, which aims to increase awareness and reduce bias, and a 10-time featured contributor in the Medical Center Director’s 2014 Civility Challenge Campaign. She imbues the values she quotes “Act with high moral principles. Adhere to the highest professional standards. Maintain the trust and confidence of all with whom I engage”.  "The Social Work code of ethics defines our core values as service, social justice, dignity and worth of a person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence."  While working with transitioning Veterans Ms. Shaw helped secure duffle bags as a replacement for plastic trash bags, using the very values Social Workers hold dear.
Ms. Shaw describes herself as outgoing, patient, and professional, and has been endorsed by fellow staff members as such. Co-workers find it very easy to consult with her regarding difficult situations, and she is always ready to help with a willing smile and engaging demeanor. As quoted by one fellow co-worker “Her diligence, perseverance, and willingness to go above and beyond for her patients are among her many strengths”.  This past year Ms. Shaw had the opportunity to reunite a homeless Veteran with his family after 20 years of separation. When asked the circumstances, her humble reply is that she was given this rare gift and what could she do but act upon it?

Congratulations, Keemia!

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