When DaVita teammate (employee) Vernon Campbell thinks about Military Appreciation Month, he reflects on his experiences in the Navy and Marine Corps. Campbell is reminded of tours of duty in Italy, Puerto Rico and Spain, and more recently his experiences as a part of the veterans’ community at DaVita.
Campbell joined DaVita in 2013 and is a facility administrator in Sanford, Florida. Two years later, in 2015, Veterans 2 Village (V2V) was created and connected Campbell with a network of fellow veterans at the kidney care company. V2V comprises a three-day class with a focus on self-development, community service, professional management and transition skills.
Since its inception, V2V has grown from a single class in its first year to three in 2019. Classes typically consist of 40-60 teammates and have been held at numerous locations across the country, including Houston, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle and Washington D.C. The program was temporarily put on hold in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[It] was always very rewarding and when you left you always felt like a new person,” Campbell recalls. “You felt like you knew yourself a little better and that your family and support system was a little larger.”
As part of the veteran’s community at DaVita, teammates have come together to participate in group service projects, such as volunteering for the Salvation Army, horse rehabilitation farms, VA homes for the elderly, food banks and Arlington National Cemetery.
“You’d have all of these strangers coming together and the common bond was always that we were veterans,” Campbell says. “Walls were immediately taken down and unity was established.”
Campbell was also selected as a guide for the veteran’s community, which is an opportunity to lead group discussions and be a resource to help others through the program; and in 2018, Campbell led the military tribute during DaVita’s internal conference called Villagewide.
Even with in-person veteran’s events on hold due to the pandemic, he continues to serve as a leading advocate for new teammates, making sure they are aware of the programs and resources available to them.
Kay Kargul, a senior manager on DaVita’s creative services team, helped create V2V and has shared many experiences with Campbell. She credits his willingness and openness to becoming an impactful voice for other veterans at the company.
“There’s been a definite journey through his self-reflection,” Kargul says. “He has a great listening ear, inquisitive mind and grateful heart.”
Campbell describes working at DaVita and finding the veteran’s community, in particular, the opportunity of a lifetime. His passion for supporting veteran teammates is a hallmark of who he’s become both personally and professionally.
As he looks to the future for additional opportunities to make an impact and continue DaVita’s spirit of service and community, he feels confident he’s exactly where he’s meant to be
“Every chance I get I’m trying to recruit veterans to the Village,” Campbell says. “I feel like I found a home when I found DaVita.”