HARRISBURG, Pa., April 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of National Volunteer Appreciation Month the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' six State Veterans Homes are recognizing and thanking their 1,900 outstanding volunteers for contributing more than 75,000 hours of service to residents in 2015.
"Individuals, organizations and businesses who volunteer are valuable members of each facility, and we are very thankful for their interest in serving Pennsylvania's veterans," said Andrew Ruscavage, director of the state veterans homes. "National Volunteer Appreciation Month is our opportunity to honor the ordinary people who do the extraordinary through their volunteer service, and we can only hope that it motivates others to follow their lead as it seems we can always use enthusiastic volunteers to assist our veterans."
There are a variety of ways to volunteer at state veterans homes which include: assisting with activities and field trips, visiting with residents, refilling water cups, escorting wheelchair-bound residents, assisting residents at mealtime, providing musical entertainment, reading to our residents and conducting or helping with arts and crafts to name a few.
"Some of our residents don't receive regular visits from their family and friends or they have no living family members. Volunteers can make a difference in these residents' lives simply by spending one-on-one time with them. Just one hour a week can dramatically improve the lives of our residents," said Ruscavage.
Volunteer recognition events include:
- The Gino J. Merli Veterans' Center (GMVC) located in Scranton honored its volunteers on April 12 with a luncheon. Eight individuals received their initial service pin for reaching 500 hours of service. Six other volunteers at the center received bars to add to their pins of service for reaching milestones from 1,000 to 15,000 hours. Cathleen Goff received her bar for reaching over 18,000 hours of service over her 11-year span of dedicated service to the GMVC. Several organizations were also honored including the American Legion Auxiliary - Department of Pennsylvania which dedicated 284 hours of service to the center in 2015.
- The Delaware Valley Veterans' Home (DVVH) in Philadelphia recognized their volunteers at a formal dinner on April 12. The DVVH honored John P. O'Donnell for 1,954 hours of service in 2015. O'Donnell has volunteered a total of 8,127 hours to the home since 2011. Joan Delaney was also honored for accumulating 1,050 hours of service to the home in 2015. Delaney's spouse was a resident of DVVH and recently passed away. She has dedicated herself to the home for providing quality care for her husband during the last stages of his life.
- The Southeastern Veterans' Center (SEVC) in Spring City held a luncheon for their volunteers on April 16. The center had 592 registered volunteers recording a total of 13,678 hours in 2015.
- The Hollidaysburg Veterans' Home (HVH) in Hollidaysburg honored their volunteers at a luncheon April 20 where retired Brig. Gen. Jerry G. Beck Jr., DMVA's deputy adjutant general for veterans' affairs was the keynote speaker.
- The Southwestern Veterans' Center (SWVC) in Pittsburgh will hold a dinner on April 28 for its volunteers, and the Pittsburgh Opera will provide the entertainment. The SWVC Volunteer of the Year is Joyce Driben who has volunteered at the center since 2010. Driben, who is visually impaired, visits the center weekly with her seeing-eye dog, Tudor, to spread happiness to residents. She has accumulated a total of 505 hours of volunteer service to the center.
- The Pennsylvania Soldiers' and Sailors' Home (PSSH) in Erie will host a volunteer recognition luncheon on April 30. Many local veteran organizations that support the PSSH through their various community outreach programs will be in attendance.
"If you're recently retired, a student looking for community service credit or just looking for a creative outlet, then you may enjoy volunteering at a state veteran's home. If your business or community organization would like to volunteer, we can use your help too," Ruscavage added.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joan Nissley – 717.861.8720
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs