VA Maryland Health Care System Celebrates Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

Volunteer Timothy Mallonee is an Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War and has been volunteering at the Baltimore VA Medical Center for the past four years

“Volunteers are an integral part of our team and play an important role in supporting the needs of our veteran patients,” said Jonathan R. Eckman, P.E., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, April 17-23, 2022, the VA Maryland Health Care System 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, approximately 320 volunteers at the VA Maryland Health Care System contributed over 4,800 hours of service to support important patient care needs. Additionally, volunteers and local community organizations contributed more than $566,000 to support the needs of Maryland’s veterans during the past fiscal year.

“Volunteers are an integral part of our team and play an important role in supporting the needs of our veteran patients,” said Jonathan R. Eckman, P.E., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “While many of our volunteers are veterans themselves, others are students, local community members and recent retires who embrace VA’s mission of serving those who served.”

National Volunteer Week also presents an opportunity for local community members to serve veterans by volunteering. There are many ways to volunteer. For instance, the Compassionate Contact Corps program, which launched in 2021 during the pandemic to alleviate loneliness brought about by the lockdown, connects veterans living alone with volunteers who phone them weekly to check in and make sure they are doing well. During one of these calls, a volunteer with the Compassionate Contact Corps recognized heart attack symptoms in the veteran with whom she was speaking and called 911, saving his life.

Volunteer Timothy Mallonee is an Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War and has been volunteering at the Baltimore VA Medical Center for the past four years. His PTSD often made him uncomfortable around large crowds and unfamiliar people, but as a VA volunteer he has a better opportunity to interact comfortably with other veterans and provide assistance by escorting patients to appointments throughout the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

Harold Crawly, an Army veteran who served as a Buffalo Soldier during the Vietnam War, has been volunteering at the VA Maryland Health Care System since 2007. He began volunteering because it is therapeutic for him since helping other veterans plays an important part in his own wellbeing.

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, the VA Maryland Health Care System is encouraging local community members to serve those who served by volunteering at local VA medical centers or outpatient clinics. 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, visit http://www.maryland.va.gov and click on Volunteer or donate.

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The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at three medical centers and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from VAMHCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a veteran can do. To enroll for VA health care, interested veterans can call 877-222-8387 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or they can visit http://www.va.gov and clinic on “Apply now for VA health care.”

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