, MN — In recognition of National Volunteer week, April 17-23, the Minneapolis VA will honor its volunteers who support local Veterans with events throughout the week and a public campaign encouraging other citizens to give back.
Volunteers have been valued partners at VA for more than 75 years and provided countless hours of support to Veterans. In fiscal year 2021, around 722 volunteers at Minneapolis VA Health Care System contributed 97,188 hours toward caring for Veterans. Their volunteerism and donations were valued at approximately $2.77 million in fiscal year 2021.
"Our volunteers have taken on new and challenging roles during the pandemic: they have volunteered on COVID units; served as pharmacy and supply runners during off tours and weekends; played an important part throughout the year assisting in the vaccination efforts; and improved patient comfort throughout the Emergency Department," said Rachel Hammer, Program Director, Center for Development and Civic Engagement.
"Our traditional volunteer assignments, however, continue to play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. From the start of the pandemic, our Volunteer Drivers, Escorts, First Impression greeters, Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad members and many more continued to report to their post. We extend our sincere gratitude for their service to our Veterans, family members and their guests."
National Volunteer Week also presents an opportunity for other civically-minded individuals to join the ranks of volunteers serving Veterans. There are many ways to volunteer. For instance, the Compassionate Contact Corps in a new virtual opportunity meant to provide a connection between a Veteran in need of social companionship and a volunteer.
Volunteers find their experience rewarding in many ways. It also provides individuals with a sense of personal achievement and appreciation. Our volunteers often recommend volunteering with the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.
Helen Losleben, a volunteer driver, said “It’s great to have a purpose. Going to the VA to drive [for the Volunteer Transportation Network] each Thursday gives me a happy afternoon to look forward to.”
“It is truly an honor to give back something (time and assistance) to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and are not as fortunate as I have been during my time in service,” said Thomas Tanner, Escort Volunteer.
No medical experience is necessary to become a VA volunteer and volunteers are encouraged to share ideas on how they would like to give back using their unique skills.
To become a VA volunteer, contact the Minneapolis VA Voluntary Service Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-467-2050.