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The Gift of Time

Volunteer helping Veteran
Kirk is one of many youth volunteers who proves the gap is not that vast between generations of the youth and America’s heroes after all.

Born into service, it is not new to Summer Youth Volunteer Kirk Chaplin to give back his most valuable gift- time.

Like Veterans and their loved ones, the West Palm Beach VA Healthcare System (WPBVAHCS) is his second home.

Military service runs deep into the roots of Kirk’s family tree. His stepfather served over twenty-six years in the U.S. Army and his brothers-in-law proudly defended freedom in camouflage gear.

Over the years, alongside his mother, WPBVAHCS Decedent Affairs Coordinator Nancy Rufino, he has bridged the gap between young hearts and the brave souls who served.

Coming from a home of service, the proud mother of Kirk shares, “Because our youth is a little different than our older Veterans, there is a generation gap. When we can unite that gap by having young volunteers bringing some youth to the lives of our Veterans, it is a great thing to see before your eyes, especially when it is your son.”

Volunteering for the VA is not only giving back to the health care organization, it is much greater, it is leaving a lasting impact on the hearts that hold inspiring stories of war time to share and learn from.

For Kirk, his local VA campus at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center was an easy pick to spend his summer of volunteering.

He shares from his recent experience, “It is always good to be there for our Veterans, to give them the opportunity to speak if they are struggling or assist them with the technology of MyHealtheVet, both ways it is a reward factor for me. I could not get the experience I get here at another workplace; I get to hear from Veterans who have been across the world to fight for our country. So that is why the VA was just an easy choice,” says Kirk.

Nancy’s workdays are even more so memorable as not only is she nurturing Veterans and their loves ones, but so is her son.

She says, “I am proud of him for choosing to volunteer here [West Palm Beach VA Medical Center]. It is so special to see him interacting with Veterans and them in return truly loving his warm company. In our home, we have raised our family to care for one another and to make sure that we keep that spirit going throughout our community.”

Not only in the spirit of his family is Kirk giving back to the community, but he too is also building one together alongside other youth volunteers for a greater cause much bigger than high school credit hours – Serving those who served.

Kirk is one of many youth volunteers who proves the gap is not that vast between generations of the youth and America’s heroes after all.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities across the WPBVAHCS, please contact the Center for Development and Civic Engagement.