Whole Health Recreation Assistants - VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System
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VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System

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Whole Health Recreation Assistants

  Whole Health Links

  What is Whole Health?   Introduction to Whole Health    Our Partners    Our Coaches
  Our Recreational Assistants   Our Programs   Whole Health National Page  Virtual Whole Health

  In Omaha call 402-599-2130, Lincoln 402-486-7822 or Grand Island 308-395-3405 for more information

Recreational Therapy Assistants create a stable, safe space where veterans can participate in stress-reducing breathing and movement-based exercises. They develop and adapt classes to fit most veterans in group settings. This is a no-touch environment encouraging each veteran to adapt the practices to their own comfort level. From the gentlest chair-based classes to the more advanced movement practices, most will find activity that will match and challenge their current abilities. Mindfulness and meditation classes are also offered to help with anxiety and to encourage relaxation.

Meet your Whole Health Recreational Assistants 

Omaha Campus

Darryel Mayo

Darryel is currently a Recreational Assistant for Nebraska-Western Iowa Healthcare System. He is a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant. Darryel has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Information Systems from Bellevue University. He received instructor certificate for Tai Chi from Tai chi Yoga Center under lead recreational assistant, Suman Barkhas. “Serving Veterans is a great way to live”. To schedule a class with Darryel please call the Omaha VA Whole Health at 402-599-2101.


John Randal Cavanaugh

John is a grateful Recreational Therapy Assistant who serves veterans for the NWI Whole Health System of Care. “My time in the armed services taught me that we are stronger when we work together. I use my certifications in Mindful Resilience Yoga, Tai-Chi for Balance, Qigong and Meditation, to offer my fellow veterans and employee’s tools to improve their lives. “One of my veterans gave me the best complement. He said “John, when I first came to your class, I wasn’t sure what to think of you and your classes. Now I feel better and move better… so I guess you’re OK.” To sign up for any of John’s classes, be registered with the VA and call Whole Health at 402-599-2130.

Sodnomdarjaa "Suman" Barkhas

Suman is a Lead Recreational Therapy Assistant who serves veterans for the NWI Whole Health System of Care. Suman is excited to offer a variety of Mind-Body movement sessions with our wonderful team of instructors. Suman received his training and certification in Yoga, Meditation, Tai chi and Qigong in Mongolia, China, India, and Sweden in the 90’s and in the United States in 2005. Suman is a nationally certified Tai Chi Master instructor. Today he uses his certifications in Mindful Resilience Yoga for Health and Well-being, Tai chi 8, 10, 24 forms, Qigong for Health and Healing and Yoga. To sign up for any of Suman’s classes, please call the Omaha Whole Health at 402-599-2130.

Grand Island Campus

Mary Ann Douglas

Mary is a Recreation Assistant for the Nebraska-Western Iowa Healthcare Systems. She provides an empowering experience and knowledge to our veteran’s with movement classes. Being a Marine Corps veteran, Mary Ann’s motivation is driven by her passion to help others as she feels gratitude and fulfillment when they see the positive changes in their bodies, which in turn, leads to improved health, self-esteem, and overall lifestyle. As a former Master Trainer, she continues to educate and ignite the love and passion for fitness with educating our veteran’s with knowledge of how they can make any movement class their own and how they can continue their fitness journey in and out of the classroom. She continues to “move” the world while receiving awards for the Best Personal Trainer in Grand Island since 2013 along with being selected as one of the Top 30 Under 30 of Grand Island. Join Mary Ann and help her continue impact the world with a movement class at the Grand Island Veterans Hospital. Call 308-395-3405 and reserve your class today.