Volunteers improve lives of veterans

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John Kleindienst | National Voluntary Services Director

Volunteers are the muscle of DAV. Their time and effort donated in our organization’s name make a positive difference in the lives of disabled veterans.

There’s a home for everyone in DAV for volunteering. Whether you’ve worn the uniform, have a family member or friend who’s served, or have no direct connection to the military, a heart to serve others is all we ask of you.

Each year, this heart for repaying veterans for their sacrifices translates into nearly 2 million hours of service in local communities and 600,000 no-cost rides to get veterans to their medical appointments.

But we want to do more, and we’d like to see more volunteers. In this issue of DAV Magazine, we wanted to offer some inspirational stories and opportunities to spur more people into action.

We highlight a Marine veteran in Medina, Ohio, who has overcome incredible challenges to be one of the most committed volunteers in his community for the past two decades. We share what some high school students are doing for food-insecure veterans in their Texas community. And we share details about the expansion of our youth scholarship program as we offer more money for college to students who’ve devoted time in DAV’s name.

These stories only scratch the surface of what our volunteers do every day. If you have a great volunteer story in your community that you’d like to share, we want to hear about it! Please let us know by sending us a note to [email protected].

Keep in mind, April 17–23 is National Volunteer Week. This observance is a great opportunity to recognize the contributions of the thousands of people who volunteer their time in service of veterans. For those of you who have donated your time to DAV, thank you.

National Volunteer Week also serves to remind people that our veterans need our help the other 51 weeks of the year, too. Every day, DAV relies on volunteers to drive veterans to their medical appointments. VA hospital staffs look to volunteer help for a wide range of services, including escorting patients, facilitating recreational programs and providing companionship to veteran patients. Right in your community are veterans who may need a helping hand with something as simple as picking up groceries or having their lawn mowed.

Your efforts don’t need to be extravagant or time-consuming. Even if you can only manage one hour a month, that seemingly small gesture can have an immeasurable impact on veterans’ lives. And I can promise you, it’ll have a positive impact on your life, too.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, check out VolunteerforVeterans.org.

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