WASHINGTON – Three dedicated and talented Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees will receive the National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee awards from DAV (Disabled American Veterans) at the organization’s 92nd National Convention Aug. 10-13 at the Hilton Orlando, in Orlando, Fla.
The Outstanding Veterans Benefits Administration Employee Award will be presented to Christopher “Buzz” Buchan, a rating veterans service representative in the VA Chicago regional office, who works directly with DAV to ensure proper quality and timely decisions of veterans claims.
“Buchan’s close communications with DAV has spread throughout the Chicago regional office,” Commander Polzin said. “His enthusiasm for the Fully Developed Claims process has made it into a program that works.”
Nobel Laureate Dr. Andrew Schally, a medical research scientist and head of the endocrine, polypeptide and cancer institute at the Miami, Fla., VA medical center, will receive the Outstanding Veterans Health Administration Employee Award, for his remarkable 50-year career of research and development of new methods for treatment of veteran cancer patients.
“Dr. Schally came to the United States in 1957 after receiving training in medical research in England and Canada and went to work for the VA in 1962,” said Polzin. “He has continued ever since working to help veterans.” With more than 33 awards and 30 honorary degrees to his credit, Schally has authored or co-authored 2,400 publications and holds the position of Distinguished Medical Research Scientist at VA. He also was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2004 for saving the lives of many patients by his discoveries.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Gene Castagnetti was selected to receive the Outstanding National Cemetery Administration Employee Award for his 23 years as director of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. “Castagnetti ensures that families of veterans being interred at the Punchbowl are respected and have as much information as possible about their benefits,” said Polzin. “He’s a friend to DAV and an ally for the organization whenever it needs his assistance.”
“Our Outstanding VA Employee Awards honor the best of the best among VA’s workers,” Polzin said. “They work hard for veterans, but our award winners take the extra steps to ensure that veterans get the very best in claims service, health care and earned honors and respect in our national cemetery system.”
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose; fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.