Illinois woman honored for 15-plus years of volunteerism for disabled veterans

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DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Auxiliary has named Bonnie Wilkins of Jackson County, Illinois, the 2021 DAV Auxiliary George H. Seal Memorial Trophy recipient. Wilkins will be formally recognized July 31 during the 2021 DAV and Auxiliary National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Each year, the award honors the DAV Auxiliary’s top volunteer through the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Program.

“Ms. Wilkins is known throughout the Marion VA Medical Center for the enthusiasm she displays while volunteering,” said Auxiliary National Commander Diane Franz. “She has gone above and beyond to help ensure veterans have access to transportation, food and the benefits they deserve.”

A member of Auxiliary Unit 69 in Murphysboro, Illinois, Wilkins has devoted over 1,300 hours of her time to veterans in her community. She helps coordinate DAV’s Transporation Network and the volunteer drivers in her community, and she ensures that food-insecure veterans have access to meals by coordinating deliveries.

“In so many ways, Bonnie has been a real, positive effect on our volunteers,” said VAVS Program Manager Maria Sgourakis Buehler. “She has been a recruiter, a team player, and probably most significantly, she is seen like the caring, encouraging and inspiring ‘mom’ of the volunteers. She willingly steps in and assists when projects and events need help. She not only advocates for our veterans but also for our volunteers.”

For nearly 16 years, Wilkins has stood out among 300 dedicated volunteers at the Marion VA Medical Center for her proactive ability to identify issues that need attention to improve the care provided to veterans. In addition, she has approached her duties as a volunteer as though every veteran is her family member, exemplifying what it means to be a DAV Auxiliary member.

Photos and media may be made available upon request.

 

About DAV
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: keeping our promise to America’s veterans. 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, providing employment resources to veterans and their families, and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a nonprofit organization with more than 1 million veteran members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932.

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