From the Field Staff

by Ed Eckroth

A Hearty Thank You To BVA’s Volunteers

BVA National Headquarters again expresses thanks to all of the organization’s volunteers throughout the country.

BVA members, acting as Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Representatives and Deputy Representatives working with BVA volunteers in their local VA facilities and within VAVS committees, help develop programs and support blinded veterans at local VA Medical Centers and Outpatient Clinics. They donate annually more than 27,000 hours to the VAVS program.

BVA’s 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 the Field Service Program but their support to the regional groups is even more direct.

In addition to VA’s recognition of BVA as an organization that provides service opportunities resulting in quality assistance to fellow veterans, BVA in turn recognizes annually an individual volunteer whose recent efforts stand out above the rest.

Honoring David L. Schnair’s legacy (see p. 17), BVA currently seeks nominees for the FY 2016 award. The recognition 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 strong 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 civically within the local community should also be taken under consideration.

Chiefs of Volunteer Services, District Directors, regional group presidents, Field Service Officers, and VIST Coordinators may nominate a worthy prospect for the Schnair Award by writing a letter of recommendation, specifically outlining the efforts taken and/or services provided to blinded veterans. These letters should be submitted to me 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.

The letters should be received at BVA National Headquarters, 125 N. West Street, 3rd Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314, by Friday, April 15, 2016, to be considered.

Members wishing to become volunteers should email me, Edward Eckroth, at or call 202-371-8880 and ask for the Field Service Department.

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