DAV member volunteers for community veterans work

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Brandie Garlitz, an Air Force veteran and DAV volunteer won the Mountain Home Woman of the Year Award for continued excellence in serving her local veterans through her volunteer work.

The Mountain Home, Idaho Chamber of Commerce recognized DAV member Brandie Garlitz as their 2015 Woman of the Year during a ceremony in January. Garlitz, a 10-year Air Force veteran is also a volunteer and chapter service officer with DAV Chapter 17 in Mountain Home, Idaho.

“Garlitz is a person who embodies the mantra that failure is never an option,“ said Nancy Thompson, the recipient of the award last year. “She is adored, caring, excelling, bubbly, high energy, fabulous, creative, exceptional, helpful and one who sets a good example for those she works with.”

In addition to volunteering at her local DAV chapter, Garlitz runs a support group for local caregivers, oversees the Mountain Home’s Young Entrepreneurs Program and works for Treasure Valley Hospice in Nampa, Idaho.

“She will raise her hand anytime anyone asks for a volunteer,” said Thompson.

Garlitz, who served in the Air Force from 1997 to 2007, is also the Idaho State Women’s Veteran Representative and assists veterans accessing local resources.

“Currently I am creating a slideshow for social partners in the community to navigate veterans issues for when they run into a veteran who needs services,” said Garlitz. “I work for Treasure Valley Hospice so the partnership with the resources and education from DAV can be passed to fellow agencies to help veterans who are in the end-of-life phase.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 20 percent of residents in her community are veterans—a fact not overlooked by Garlitz.

“I became frustrated walking into homes in Mountain Home, which has a large population of retired military due to Mountain Home Air Force Base, and finding veterans who were entitled to services, yet were not receiving them,” said Garlitz. “I believe veterans are an under-served population because communities are unaware, as well as the veterans, as to what their benefits are. Some of them just need help walking through the process of enrolling in the VA system, and just need to file claims,”

Garlitz’s volunteer efforts for veterans’ covers a wide range of activities and offer a broadening horizon for many of local veterans and her chapter.

“She gets out and spreads the word about us,” said Richard Appleton, Senior Vice Commander and Membership Chairman of DAV Chapter 17. “She does a lot for people. She bakes cookies every month and takes them to the state nursing home and the Veterans’ Affairs hospital, she wraps Christmas gifts for veterans, and she helps with our bingo games for veterans. She is always willing to help and has been real good for our chapter.”

“She is out there making a difference in veterans lives,” said DAV National Director of Voluntary Services, John Kleindienst. “She is closing gaps and building bridges for the nearly 2,600 veterans in her community, and that is not only motivating, it is needed and inspiring. Mountain Home veterans are in good hands.”

During the ceremony, Garlitz fought back tears while saying the award was like a dream to her.

“It means the world to me because it came from loving and beautiful community members who take care of their own really well,” said Garlitz. “When you receive an honor from others who do so much themselves, well, let’s just say I was very humbled and blessed.”

To learn more about DAV’s volunteer programs or to sign up as a volunteer, visit our website.