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This is National Volunteer Week, time to Celebrate Service. Time to salute those great men and women in every VA medical center who give of themselves to others. And time to invite everyone else to come along and discover the power of making a difference.

You’ll meet them every time you visit a VA medical center. In 2014, over 140,000 volunteers gave more than 11 million hours in service to America’s Veterans.

We can’t calculate the amount of caring and sharing these VA Voluntary Service volunteers provide to Veteran patients. Our volunteers are a priceless asset to America’s Veterans and to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A Volunteer for Over 50 Years

Kay Arnold, who turned 90 in February, is a classic example of unselfish service.

Katherine “Kay” Arnold has devoted her life to community and Veterans services. She was born in 1925 and has seen many social, political and technological changes, but for Kay, the wife of a World War II Veteran, the love for her country and service to those who protect it has remained strong and constant.

Since 1959 she has logged more than 50,000 hours of volunteer service at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass. Her role there includes Veteran adviser, management assistant counselor, patient recreation leader and a formal appointment as the VA Voluntary Service Representative for American former prisoners of war.

She has also worked with the Veterans Benefits Administration office directing Veterans seeking treatment, services, and benefits to the proper agencies and offices.

As Arnold puts it, “The Veterans appreciate it. You give back.”

“She keeps going. She’s like that commercial with the bunny,” said one Veteran. “There’s a lot to get done in the world and you don’t get it done by sitting on a couch. You go out and do things, and she’s been doing them.”

 “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” 
— Ghandi

Saying “Thank You” to Veterans Every Day

According to Sabrina Clark, “Our volunteers carry forward the tradition of service embedded in our character as a people. These men and women say “thank you” to our Veterans every day, for all of us.” Clark is VA’s Director of Voluntary Service.

All of VA’s volunteers are great people. Some are singled out for their countless acts of kindness, generosity, and service. As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we salute them for their outstanding effort and dedication.

This year, the honor of Volunteer of the Year goes to:

Volunteer James Hogan 
Male Volunteer of The Year

James Hogan
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System


Volunteer Patti Williamson 
Female Volunteer of The Year
Patti Williamsom
VA Illiana Health Care System

How do I sign up to volunteer?

Volunteer or Donate will take you to a web form. Complete and click the ‘Submit’ button. An email is generated to the VA Voluntary Service program in your area. Once the email is received, someone from the local VA will contact you, either by phone or email to provide you with further information and possibly set up an appointment for an interview.

In person: Contact your local VA medical center’s Voluntary Service office. Tell them of your interest in volunteering. An appointment will be scheduled for you to come in to tour the facility and learn more about the many ways to serve America’s heroes.

This Article was originally posted on Inside Veterans Health.

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Published on Apr. 16, 2015

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