This is National Salute to Veteran Patients Week.
Communities across America will be bringing Valentines to hospitalized Veterans. You can too…check with your local VA facility here.
Popular entertainers will be performing for Veterans and their families and medical centers across America will be holding special events for hospitalized Veterans. Here’s just a few of the events:
The Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center is hosting its annual National Salute to Veterans Dinner Dance at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw, MI, on February 14. Dinner at 5, dancing from 6 to 9:30 with live music.
The VA Health Care System of the Ozarks is having their salute on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14.
In honor of the week, Butler VA will hold its annual Community Living Center Lunch Date with a Veteran Program on Wednesday, February 13, host a visit by the Butler County Jr. ROTC on February 14 and hold another lunch program for Adult Day Health Care on Friday, February 15.
Last year, schools, community groups, and youth organizations nationwide sent more than 288,000 valentines to VA medical centers, which were distributed to Veteran patients at facilities across the country.
More than 9,000 volunteers and 1,400 community organizations contributed to events and activities recognizing hospitalized Veterans.
It’s also a week when we encourage people to volunteer at their local VA facility.
For those wanting to volunteer and join the mission to honor the sacrifice and service of America’s Veterans during the National Salute or any time of year, visit the nearest VA facility or contact Voluntary Service online at www.volunteer.va.gov.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebecca Graffius, Supply Specialist, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., gives a Valentine’s card to U.S. Army Sgt. Lance Alford, a Vietnam era veteran at Loma Linda Veterans Hospital, Loma Linda, Calif., Feb. 16, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christine Jones/Released)
National Celebrity Board Salutes Veterans
VA’s National Salute Celebrity Board joins VA to champion volunteer recruitment and community advocacy on behalf of Veterans.
Members of the board include:
Sydney Justin of The Miracles:
“I have great respect and admiration for our Veterans. Knowing they have sacrificed their time and lives for all our freedoms is amazing. My father-in-law and brother-in-law are Veterans, so for me it’s personal. All Veterans deserve and should be revered as heroes no matter what war.
“The Miracles have seen how sincerely dedicated the VA is towards the health and wellness of our Veterans.
“We look forward to serving our Veterans through our concerts. They feel it and we feel it back. The Miracles are dedicated to the betterment of our Veterans lives and well-being. We love all Veterans, we love America.”
Popular country group Shenandoah:
Marty Raybon, Shenandoah lead singer:
“Personally, there is a very deep bond for the Veterans of this greatest nation on the planet. My son, Matthew, served in the Army for six years with one tour in Iraq. Mike McGuire (Shenandoah’s Drummer), lost an uncle while fighting for our country.
“We have the greatest respect for our men and women who serve. Our performing for the Vets allows us to give back some of the appreciation we feel in our hearts and we always try to go the extra mile while entertaining them for the sacrifices they make.”
NFL star running back Earnest Byner (8200 career yards!)
Byner describes his respect for Veterans:
“The teamwork that it takes to perform and produce at a high level, the issues that are caused by the action on the playing field and in the state of battle, like traumatic brain injury, concussions and suicide makes us alike in many ways.
“Our men and women Veterans have risked life and limb to serve our nation and the world as we know it.
“I’m proud to show respect and love to those who have risked so much for the freedoms that we have.”
Volunteer at your local VA medical center
Nationwide, over 75,000 volunteers provide more than 12 million volunteer hours serving Veterans. Volunteers are a priceless asset to the nation’s Veterans and to VA.
Here’s a short video of one man’s decision to volunteer.
Our volunteers do the endless list of jobs that are necessary in caring for Veterans. Some of our volunteers even blaze their own paths, using their unique skills and creative vision to find new ways to thank Veterans.
They read to patients, provide recreation transportation, entertainment, and training. They also offer respite for caregivers, coaching, friendship.
Sometimes, the value of a volunteer is as simple as the offer of a sympathetic ear.
Volunteers do what it takes to make their heroes feel at home.
You can too.