America Supports You: Volunteers Unite to Serve Hospitalized Veterans
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2008 For more than 60 years, a group of California-based volunteers has worked to ensure that no hospitalized veteran anywhere in the country making a worthwhile request gets “no” for an answer.
“United Voluntary Services is a national organization committed to recruiting volunteers and raising funds to help meet the needs of hospitalized veterans in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers,” said Mary Lee, the organization’s national president. “We have 43 units in 20 VA medical centers, with over 600 volunteers conducting varied programs for veterans that the hospitals do not and cannot financially afford.”
United Voluntary Services helps veterans out in financial emergencies by paying electric or phone bills. Not all of their efforts are along those lines, however. The volunteers also hold barbecues and ice cream socials in addition to arranging outings to restaurants, sporting events and even local fishing holes, as well as “many more activities that could fill a book,” Lee said.
Sometimes it’s as simple as reading to patients, helping them call home or just visiting with them for a little while, she added.
All that’s required of a volunteer is a willingness to serve, Lee said. “We have a large contingent of young people who volunteer for us in the summer,” she noted.
United Voluntary Services is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.