From the Field StaffBVA National Headquarters Expresses Thanks to all of its Voluneers

By Ed Eckroth

BVA National Headquarters Expresses Thanks to all of its Volunteers


President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order in 1974, as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. Every sitting U.S. president since Nixon has issued a proclamation during National Volunteer Week (as have many U.S. mayors and governors).

Since then, the original emphasis on celebration has widened; the week has become a nationwide effort to urge people to get out and volunteer in their communities. Every April, charities, hospitals, and communities recognize volunteers and foster a culture of service.

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. In 2015 BVA member James Hogan was named Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services National Male Volunteer of the Year.

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 both the Field Service Program and regional groups as they provide direct support to Regional groups.”

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. The David L. Schnair Award, typically presented at the national convention, is named after a revered BVA member, volunteer, and national leader on the organization’s Board of Directors whose volunteer spirit and service spanned five decades.

Honoring David L. Schnair’s legacy, BVA currently seeks nominees for the 2014 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 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 make the nominations 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 Friday, April 20, 2018 to be considered.

Members wishing to become volunteers should email Claudia Belk at Claudia.belk@va.gov Phone: (844) 250-5180 ext – 336

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