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Phoenix VA Health Care System

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Son Follows Mother's Footsteps in VA Service

Bonna Lippert, registered nurse, sits with her son John Newman, VCS sales clerk, in the Carl T. Hayden Medical Center’s Serenity Garden. Newman was hired by the Phoenix VA in May, 30 years after his mother began her career here.

Bonna Lippert, registered nurse, sits with her son John Newman, VCS sales clerk, in the Carl T. Hayden Medical Center’s Serenity Garden. Newman was hired by the Phoenix VA in May, 30 years after his mother began her career here.

By Macario Mora
Monday, October 2, 2017

In May 1987, 26-year-old Bonna Lippert joined the Phoenix VA Health Care System as an intensive care unit nurse. Thirty years later in May 2017, her 26-year-old son John Newman followed in her footsteps and joined the VA.

“When I started here my last name was Newman,” Lippert said. “[John’s] father was a Veteran, and he kept telling me to join the VA.”

Lippert said she worked as a nurse at Good Samaritan Health Services for a year because the VA was undergoing a hiring freeze, but the moment it opened she was contacted by a friend who worked at the VA to apply.

“I started here as a surgical intensive care nurse,” said Lippert, who now runs a homebased primary care program. “I loved that position, so I’ve been here ever since. However, I didn’t have any children at the time, so when John came along I accepted a position doing homebased primary care. It was important for me to have regular hours so I could take care of him.”

Newman, who was hired in May as a sales consultant with the Veteran Canteen Service, said his father and Lippert had urged him to apply with the VA for many years, adding it took the pregnancy of his fiancé to ultimately nudge him to take that step forward in his career.

“I was immature for a long time,” Newman said. “But, when I found out my fiancé was pregnant I knew it was time to start shooting for bigger things.”

Newman said he thoroughly enjoys working with Veterans and listening to their stories. He said although he doesn’t have any immediate plans, he has considered following closer in his mother’s footsteps and becoming a registered nurse. Lippert added that Newman would also make a great counselor because he’s always willing to help other people.

“Growing up, I saw the tremendous amounts of work she would bring home,” Newman said. “I was with her through all the position changes and watched her overcome so many obstacles. It was inspiring to see that determination. The determination she had to care for the Veterans. Nothing was fulfilling enough for me until I started working here.”

Lippert said she agreed with Newman adding “When you enjoy what you’re doing you stay.” And it’s evident that helping Veterans more than a passion for these VA employees, it’s now becoming a family tradition

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