ANNVILLE, Pa., April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- During the month of April, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will be recognizing and thanking their 2,433 outstanding volunteers for contributing nearly 76,000 hours of service in 2018 to residents in its six veterans' homes.
"It is with great pleasure that we recognize these individuals for generously donating their time to help improve the living experience of our veterans and their spouses," said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general and head of the DMVA. "These gracious volunteers are a vital part of our team and provide quality social time for our residents with friendly smiles and caring attitudes."
In 1974, President Richard Nixon, through executive order, established the National Volunteer Week to celebrate and recognize the efforts of all individuals who volunteer. Since then, every year, each president has issued a proclamation for National Volunteer Week. This year it is the week of April 7-13. Thankfully, the number of individuals who volunteer throughout the United States has increased in recent years. National Volunteer Week has expanded into an entire month. Each of the DMVA's six veterans' homes will hold events and activities for their volunteers in April to thank them for their selfless service to our veterans. This year's events include:
- The Gino J. Merli Veterans' Center (GMVC) located in Scranton will hold an appreciation brunch on April 9 to honor its volunteers. Throughout the year, 145 people volunteered more than 13,000 hours. One individual, Cathleen Goff, reached the milestone of personally volunteering more than 24,000 hours through the years. Joan Millan (19,000 hours) and Sandra Tyler (14,000 hours), also reached volunteer time milestones this year. The home is celebrating 25 years of its volunteer program.
- The Hollidaysburg Veterans' Home (HVH) in Hollidaysburg will honor its volunteers at a luncheon on April 10. In 2018, 679 volunteers donated more than 8,000 hours of their time to assist residents at the home. Tom Smith will be recognized as volunteer of the year, and the VFW Post 4559 Tyrone will be recognized for its continued support of the home.
- The Delaware Valley Veterans' Home (DVVH) in Philadelphia will recognize its 157 volunteers at an April 17 dinner. Collectively, the volunteers donated more than 16,700 hours to serve the residents, which is the largest number of volunteer hours of the six veterans' homes. Seventeen volunteers will be recognized for at least 10 years of service to the home.
- The Southwestern Veterans' Center (SWVC) in Pittsburgh is recognizing its volunteers with a dinner on April 25. The 676 volunteers contributed 11,720 hours of service to the residents. Sherry Lauffer will be honored for earning the SWVC Volunteer of the Year Award.
- On April 26, the Southeastern Veterans' Center (SEVC) in Spring City is recognizing its 234 volunteers with a luncheon. The SEVC volunteers donated 12,302 hours last year helping residents. The home will recognize Evelyn Thompson (16,000 hours) and Martin Weeks (10,000 hours) for reaching volunteer time milestones after years of service.
- To honor its 542 volunteers, the Pennsylvania Soldiers' & Sailors' Home (PSSH) in Erie is hosting a luncheon on April 27, sponsored by the Wesleyville American Legion Post 571. The volunteers donated 14,028 hours of their time assisting residents.
"Never a day passes that we don't appreciate the extraordinary work done by the thousands of volunteers at our six homes," said Andrew Ruscavage, director, Bureau of Veterans Homes. "The volunteers treat our residents like family, adding to the upbeat and happy atmosphere that they enjoy every day. There is no substitute for someone who has the passion to donate their personal time to help make another person's life more pleasant."
For more information about the veterans homes as well as volunteer opportunities visit www.VeteransHomes.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/padmva or Twitter at www.twitter.com/padmva.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joseph Butera, 717-861-2178
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs