A self-described small-town girl, Lynn Brammer makes a big difference in the lives of everyone she meets. Her mission in life, she says, is to help make her community a better place for people and animals.
During the workday, Brammer works as a small animal medicine technician at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s (VMRCVM) Small Animal Hospital. As a “pet nurse,” in the hospital’s internal medicine department, she draws blood, places catheters, administers medication, and schedules diagnostics for patients. She does all of this while helping to build the future of the veterinary profession through hands-on training of fourth-year doctor of veterinary medicine students.
“I walked in the door and felt like I was at home,” said Brammer, who has worked at Virginia Tech for 29 years and plans to stay until she retires.
On evenings and weekends, Brammer works to help people in her community. A master gardener since 1997, Brammer is also the founder of Share the Spare, an initiative that puts healthy food into the hands of the less fortunate.
Her commitment to serving others doesn’t end there though. She manages to find time to care for the stray animals who have become her pets, three cats and a dog, and volunteer at the Lyric Theatre, in downtown Blacksburg. She also supports several other local causes.
“Lynn’s knowledge of her job and our hospital is remarkable,” said her colleague Samantha Suroski, who works in the hospital office. “Her ability to train students and new employees is a huge asset to the college. She demonstrates her compassion every day in the gentle way she handles pets and talks to clients. We are very lucky to have her.”
The hospital’s Internal Medicine service provides specialty care to clients who are referred by private practitioners for internal medicine problems and special procedures including anemia, liver disease, polyarthritis, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones.
“Our students have to learn how to communicate with people who are often anxious and upset, especially when they get bad news,” said Brammer. “I tell the students to treat each pet as if it is their own.”
A member of the New River Valley Master Gardener Association, Brammer has been working with other master gardeners to facilitate a program called Share the Spare -- which encourages gardeners and those who shop at the Blacksburg Farmers Market to donate extra produce to those in need. Brammer started the project in 2010.
During the spring and summer months, she spends every Saturday at the market where she collects extra items purchased by shoppers. The booth also serves as a drop off point for local backyard gardeners who donate their surplus food and, at the end of the day, market vendors often donate their unsold produce.
“Many of us are fortunate enough to walk into a grocery store and buy what we need and not think twice about it, but some people don’t have that luxury. Instead, they’re purchasing less expensive items that are not necessarily healthy,” said Brammer who grew up on a farm in Childress, Va.
Donated produce is distributed throughout the week, either by home delivery or to a food pantry. During the fall and winter, Brammer works to collect produce from several farmers who have greenhouses.
In addition to her time at the farmers market, Brammer and her fellow volunteers actively seek out food that can be donated as well. It’s not unusual for Brammer to spend a few hours on any given evening picking unwanted fruit from trees in the New River Valley. The fruit, she says, would otherwise just fall to the ground and attract bugs. This way, it gets put to use.
In 2011, Share the Spare collected and distributed more than two tons of healthy food to local families. Brammer hopes to recruit more volunteers and would like to see the program expand beyond Montgomery County and Floyd.
Brammer believes the community would be a better place if everyone would find time to volunteer. “It’s really wonderful to think about the people you’re helping.”
For more information on this topic, contact Employee Communications Manager Laura Neff-Henderson at 540-231-7643.
First published on: Nov 5, 2012
The Extraordinary Employee series highlights the achievements of Virginia Tech employees who go above and beyond, making a difference in the lives of others on campus and in the community.