Thanking volunteers who help veterans
Every day, hundreds of appreciative citizens in our community join together with their fellow volunteers in thanking veterans for their service by volunteering at the Beckley Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Our volunteers vary in age, gender, income, education, race or ethnic background, but all of our volunteers share one thing in common — they are driven with a patriotic spirit to use their unique talents and skills toward improving veterans’ lives at our medical center. The very root of their selfless service is sincere appreciation.
During 2013, here at Beckley VAMC, more than 400 volunteers provide more than 50,000 hours of service to veterans. These volunteers show up with arms wide open for tasks that range anywhere from driving veterans to and from their appointments, providing direction throughout the medical center, assisting staff, or holding a veteran’s hand at the bedside to keep them from being alone during trying times.
The reasons our volunteers give so selflessly of their time are as many as they are. Many may enter our doors seeking experience for a resume, something to do after retirement, a way to keep up with fellow veterans, or simply wanting to say thank you to a defender of their freedom. However, most stay because giving their time and service to these former service members gives them a purpose, opens a passion, introduces them to the person they have always wanted to be.
National Volunteer Week is April 6-12, 2014. It is a time to recognize and thank today’s volunteers for their incredible efforts and inspiring actions. It is also a time to call everyone else in our community to serve those who served us first. President Obama issued a memorandum to all federal agencies to increase opportunities for national service. At VA we have as many opportunities to volunteer as there are people willing to give of their time. In fact, we invite people to tell us how they want to use their unique interests and skills as a volunteer for the betterment of veterans. I encourage all of your readers to not only thank a volunteer today, but to listen to their stories, and think about joining the ranks of these remarkable champions of compassion among us. For more information on becoming a VA volunteer, please contact Cheryl Yost or Brenda Riles at 304-255-2121.
Karin L. McGraw, MSN, FACHE
director, Beckley Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center