Two women shaking hands. One of them is in a wheelchair.During this week of Thanksgiving, I want to thank the 85,000 volunteers who serve Veterans and their families each and every day! We had some very special volunteers last Friday night, Mrs. Patty Shinseki (wife of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki) and Mrs. Lynne DeFrancisco. They volunteered at the Ladies Night held at the VA medical center in Washington, D.C. These ladies were true volunteers carrying boxes of donated goods from my car to the medical center to counting the beads for the jewelry to be made by the ladies who attended the event. Thank you ladies! You demonstrated the true spirit of VA volunteers! The event was spectacular! We had the great opportunity to pin a corsage on the female Veteran as she entered through the lobby. Information on women’s health and terrific opportunities (like manicures and hand massages) for female Veterans was shared with all who attended. What a terrific opportunity!

Become a VA volunteer and experience the wonderful opportunities VA has to offer those who have served and see how very thankful the Veterans can be for showing that you care. To volunteers, every day is Veterans Day!

Thank you volunteers for your generosity of time, talents and donations.

Laura Balun was appointed Director, Voluntary Service Office in June 2005. As Director, Ms. Balun manages one of the largest centralized volunteer programs in the Federal Government. The VA Voluntary Service program is represented in all of the VA medical centers and involves the participation of approximately 81,000 active volunteers and more than 350 groups and organizations nationwide.

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Published on Nov. 23, 2010

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  1. SMEBS June 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    VA Volunteers are the Greatest! Thanks for all you do. I would encourage folks who have the time to give to contact your local VA to become a valued VA Volunteer!
    Best Regards;
    SMEBS B2B Directory india;amla leaf extract

  2. Char December 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve heard of complaints relating to the long hurdles volunteers are subjected to-extensively creating. Frustrations and delays to provide volounteerong
    I don’t have specific names, perhaps review of posts on some VA sites would help.

  3. Joe Dooley November 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    VA Voluntary Service has been providing volunteers and resources for hospitalized Veterans for over 64 years. On behalf of the 700+ volunteers at the Bedford, MA VA Hospital who honor those who gave up their tomorrows so we could have today by their volunteer service we say THANK YOU to America’s Best!!!

  4. Robert Hawes November 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    VA Volunteers are the Greatest! Thanks for all you do. I would encourage folks who have the time to give to contact your local VA to become a valued VA Volunteer!

  5. Marianne Davis November 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

    In these grim times volunteering continues to be one of the most rewarding and productive things that anyone can do with their time. We are constantly helping our volunteers enhance their resumes with relevant experiences, contacts to write recommendations, and creating a feeling of worth from making veterans in our care smile and feel happy. Our volunteers provide hospitality, support our staff, and help us create events that let our veterans know that they have not been forgotten. That’s the prize — keep your eyes on that, folks. It’s time to help yourself by giving back.

  6. Melissa A. Heinlein, MA, MS, CAVS, Chief, Voluntary Service November 26, 2010 at 9:30 am

    The volunteers at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center are priceless. From being on the front lines of greeting and escorting patients to where they need to go to providing comfort items to Veterans during their stay at the hospital, the volunteers are here for Veterans. Their abundance of compassion, care, and smiles ease any patient’s worry morning, noon, and night, seven days a week.

  7. Traci Washington November 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    The Volunteers of the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus, Ohio are second to none. Over the past year, they have logged in more than 50,000 hours in service to our Veterans. The support that we receive from them allows our VA to accomplish more than would otherwise be possible. I feel privileged to work alongside of each and every one of our volunteers.
    As the Voluntary Services Officer, I have witnessed a staff of volunteers who have grown into a family with a common goal of serving Veterans. Each of our volunteers shows a commitment to looking beyond themselves to serve a greater cause.
    I want to thank each and every one of our volunteers for making my experience as your Voluntary Services Coordinator, the most rewarding experience of my professional career. Thank you for caring for our Veterans, and sharing your time and abilities with our VA.

  8. Chris Scheer November 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

    If you think the big gray VA bureaucracy doesn’t have a heart, you haven’t met a VA volunteer! Volunteers are the heart and soul of VA; they service Veterans and they inspire VA employees. They keep VA facilities tuned to the communities and Veterans they serve. Anyone can volunteer at VA and opportunities exist beyond VA medical facilities — check out the story of a volunteer recently honored by President Obama at However, this is one program that needs renewal by each generation — come on Baby Boomers, it’s your turn!

  9. Susan Kern, Program Manager- Voluntary Service November 24, 2010 at 11:20 am

    As we all prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, there is no time more fitting than now to express our gratitude and thanks to the countless VA volunteers who give the gift of time each and every day to our Veteran patients. At the VA Maryland Health Care System the support from our over 900 volunteers is truly something to be thankful for.

  10. Mary Lou Pittman, Voiuntary Service Chief November 24, 2010 at 8:31 am



    Many times people have asked me, “Do you get paid for what you do at the Veterans Hospital?” My answer has been, “Certainly not, I’m a volunteer!” That statement started me thinking…then I realized I was not giving the correct answer. Certainly I get paid.

    Just having the opportunity of helping sick people pays me. I get paid when a patient coming into the hospital, fearful of what is ahead, looks to me as a strong right arm when I take him to the admitting office then to his room.

    I get paid when a patient says, “Thank you.” I get paid when I arrange a bouquet of flowers, freshen them and return them to the ward to receive a smile of gratitude….
    …I accept their smiles as my pay … and I feel very humble.

    I get paid in the satisfaction of knowing that what may seem like a very insignificant task, helping a patient to Emergency, directing a patient to a clinic, steadying a cup while giving nourishment…even such a small task is, at the moment, the most important in the world.

    I get paid in knowing, since there are people who must depend on others for help, that I can give some part of that help. I get paid in the friendships I’ve made and the associations I’ve enjoyed at the VA Medical Center because I know these people feel the very same way I do. Strong friendships make one feel secure and no amount of money can buy friendship.

    There are many things in life with no “price tag” and on which there is no room for a dollar sign. In our little corner of the world at the Veterans Hospital, we are not doing big things…just every day things…helping our brethren.

    It’s a small part I play in this big, wide field of service, but do you know something?
    …I feel that I am the richest person in the world.

    No one can offer me another job at a higher salary…there is no better paying job for me.


    The Atlanta VAMC Voluntary Service Team holds a special place in our hearts for all who volunteer to serve our veterans. We are thankful for you!

  11. Brian Pegouske November 24, 2010 at 8:27 am

    The Battle Creek VA Medical Center and Community Based Outpatient Clinics are truly thank-ful for the dedication of over 950 volunteers who serve our Veterans. We are also thankful to our Veterans for their service. We continue to look for new volunteers to serve them in new and creative ways.

  12. Tom Gallagher, Voluntary Services Specialist November 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I would like take this opportunity to to thank the 500 plus volunteers who selflessly assist Veterans every day within the Louis A. Johnson VA Healthcare System. They are an integral part of the excellent health care provided to Veterans in North Central West Virginia. It is an honor and a priviledge to work with them every day.

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