From the Field Staff

By Ed Eckroth

BVA National Headquarters, in particular the Office of the Field Service Program, expresses thanks to all of its volunteers. Volunteer National Service Officers (VNSOs) donate more than 20 hours per week at VA facilities as they provide claims assistance to blinded veterans.

VNSOs are a great asset to both the Field Service Program and regional groups in concentrated areas marked by state or regional group boundaries.

VA Voluntary Services (VAVS) Representatives and Deputy Representatives volunteer in their local VA facilities and within VAVS committees. They help develop programs and support blinded veterans at local VA Medical Centers and Outpatient Clinics. They also recruit volunteers. BVA volunteers donated 41,102 hours to the VAVS program during Fiscal Year 2013.

Legendary BVA volunteer and leader David L. Schnair in early 1980s at New York City volunteer office in Manhattan.
Legendary BVA volunteer and leader David L. Schnair in early 1980s at New York City volunteer office in Manhattan.

Each year the David L. Schnair Award is presented at our national convention to recognize and honor a distinguished volunteer. Dave Schnair was a revered Director of District 1 and volunteer from New York City. His volunteer service and spirit spanned five decades.

Honoring such spirit and service, BVA currently seeks nominees for the 2014 award. It may be given to a BVA volunteer office, a BVA member, or a BVA Auxiliary member working in a BVA volunteer office. Candidates should have provided at least one year of consistent and outstanding service as BVA volunteers and have a solid understanding of the VA system. They should be an asset to the volunteer office and blinded veterans. Volunteers should also be involved in community activities, including the representing of BVA as spokespersons.

For an office or individual to receive the award, the maintaining of good regional group and volunteer service affiliation is extremely important. Consistency in submitting monthly reports is also essential. Activities conducted at the VA Medical Center, Regional Office, or within the community should also be taken under consideration.

Chiefs of Volunteer Services, District Directors, regional group presidents, Field Service Officers, and VIST Coordinators may nominate volunteers by writing letters of recommendation, specifically outlining the efforts taken and/or services provided to blinded veterans. These letters should be submitted to the National Field Service Director for review but consultation will also occur with the appropriate regional group president and National Field Service Officer prior to submission to the panel for final selection.

Letters should be received at BVA National Headquarters,125 N. West Street, 3rd Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314, by Monday, April 21, 2014, to be considered.

To learn more about the Schnair awards program, please visit http://bva.org/volunteer.html. Members wishing to become volunteers should email Edward Eckroth at eeckroth@bva.org or call 202-371-8880 and ask for the Field Service Department.