James Hogan, a longtime member of the Southern California Regional Group of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) and a volunteer with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System for the past 12 years, has been recognized as VA’s National Male Volunteer of the Year.
The official award presentation will occur during the 69th Annual VA Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee Meeting and Conference held April 22-24, 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
James Hogan, a resident of Canyon Country, California, has logged more than 2,800 hours of voluntary service during his tenure. He is one of 260 BVA volunteers nationwide performing 34,177 hours of service during BVA’s Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014).
James’ dedicated service has also involved his wife, Pam, who volunteers with him. In addition, his guide dog of nine years, Atticus, has worked as a therapy dog for VA Healthcare System patients.
James performs a multitude of volunteer tasks as a VA volunteer, serving blind and visually impaired veterans who are enrolled in the Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) program. As such, he helps veterans attend fishing trips by arranging transportation and for them. He also helps organize monthly VIST Support Group activities. One of his specialties is also outreach to younger Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and their families regarding benefits, adjustment to disability, and educational opportunities. He also actively serves his fellow blinded veterans within his BVA regional group.
James visits regularly with veterans at the Sepulveda VA Community Living Center and Hospice and mobilizes the local Disabled American Veterans chapter to bring food goodies and cheer to hospitalized patients. Accompanied by Pam and Atticus, he visits veterans at the California State Veterans Homes in the Cities of Lancaster, Ventura, Barstow, and West Los Angeles.
James, Pam, and Atticus work with Vietnam Veterans of America on their annual Homeless Stand Downs in Ventura and Antelope Valley, California. They help the Elks raise funds for their annual veterans’ luncheon at their lodge and drive Boy Scouts to place more than 6,000 flags on veterans’ graves on Memorial Day.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, James Hogan was diagnosed with hearing loss as a young boy and quickly began utilizing hearing devices. Determined to fulfill his dream of serving his country, he enlisted in the Navy following graduation from high school in 1966. After serving 4½ years in Vietnam combat areas, he re-entered civilian life in 1973. Ten years later, he was diagnosed with Ushers II, a degenerative disease that causes both vision and hearing loss.
Despite his setbacks, James has worked relentlessly to maintain his active lifestyle. He, Pam, and Atticus are often seen riding through town on a Lightfoot Duo Recumbent Cycle, a side-by-side, two-seat quadracycle they obtained after a refresher course James took at the Palo Alto VA Blind Rehabilitation Center in 2012. He has also been an avid spokesman on behalf of those with hearing loss for the HearStrong Foundation. Last year he was proclaimed as a HearStrong champion by the organization.