Charleston AUSA Chapter Presents Outstanding Service Award to VA Nurse

Friday, December 14, 2018

Larry Dandridge, the Volunteer Vice President for Veteran Affairs, for the Charleston, SC Chapter of The Association of the US Army (AUSA) presented Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Registered Nurse (RN) Lydia Batista, the Chapter’s Outstanding Service Award, on October 8, 2018.  

Lydia was nominated for the award by SSG (Retired) and VA Patient Eugene Williams and his family and Larry Dandridge for the wonderful care she gives to her patients at the RHJ VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC.  The award was given to Lydia in front of her peers and supervisor on the Intensive Care Unit of the VA Medical Center by Larry Dandridge, the Charleston SC Chapter VP for Veteran Affairs.  

Our local VA Medical Center is a FIVE-STAR Hospital and has been rated in the top 10% of all public and private hospitals for quality of care and customer satisfaction for many years.  The RHJ VA Med Center has the lowest turn-over rate of nurse employees of all civilian and VA medical care facilities in the USA. 

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is accredited by The Joint Commission and has received accreditation for several programs. The VAMC's cancer program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons; the VAMC's Laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathology; and the VAMC's Diabetes Self-Management Education program received national standards recognition from the American Diabetes Association.  The Charleston Post Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).  There are 190 students in Nursing Trainee Programs at the RHJ.  The RHJ VA Med Center is the only VA in the USA to offer 3 nurse residency programs. 

The Charleston SC Chapter of AUSA adopted the RHJ Johnson VA Medical Center 14 years ago and is dedicated to supporting this outstanding VA Medical Center and its over 80,000 patients and families.  The Charleston, SC Chapter AUSA Chapter has donated more than $20,000.00 to the RHJ VA Med Center over the past 14 years.  Our VP of Veteran Affairs also wrote an all five-star reviewed and award winning book, BLADES OF THUNDER (Book One)and donated all of the 2015 profits and part of all future sales to FISHER HOUSE CHARLESTON. Larry’s book sales and speeches have raised more than $65,000.00 for the RHJ VA’s FISHER HOUSE CHARLESTON. Our Chapter’s VP for Veteran Affairs and Past President, Larry Dandridge, has served as the AUSA Charleston Chapter Representative to the RHJ VA Medical Center for over a decade.  Larry serves the RHJ VA Medical Center as a volunteer: 

  • Patient & Employment Assistance Adviser; 
  • Customer Service Council Member; 
  • Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC) Member; 
  • Director’s Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Advisor Council Member;
  • State of SC, VA, and American Legion Trained Volunteer VSO. 
  • Funds and donation volunteer for the beautiful new Fisher House Charleston. 


[Pictured] RN Lydia Batista is in middle, AUSA Charleston Chapter VP for Vet Affairs Larry Dandridge on left, and Ralph h. Jonson VA Medical Center’s Chief, Community Engagement & Veteran Experience Fred Lesinski is on the right. Lydia received a wall plaque and a framed letter of commendation and appreciation from the AUSA Charleston Chapter.