ANNVILLE, Penn., April 18, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the month of April, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will be recognizing and thanking their 2,535 outstanding volunteers for contributing more than 83,000 hours of service in 2017 to residents in its six veterans homes.
"The volunteers who serve at our six veterans homes play a vital role in augmenting each staff by lending a helping hand and enhancing the social living experience of our residents," said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general and head of the DMVA. "We are honored to have such devoted, selfless volunteers who generously donate their time and talents to help our resident veterans and their families feel appreciated and at home."
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 15-21. 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 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 was the first to honor its volunteers, holding a special brunch yesterday and is following with a celebratory social on April 19. Throughout the year, 170 people volunteered nearly 16,000 hours. One individual, Hank Young, reached the milestone of personally volunteering 16,000 hours since 1994.
- The Hollidaysburg Veterans' Home (HVH) in Hollidaysburg will honor its volunteers at a luncheon on April 18. In 2017, 573 volunteers donated 11,603 hours of their time to assist residents at the home. Jim and Cheryl Georgiana will be recognized as volunteers of the year, and the VFW Auxiliary Department of Pennsylvania will be honored as the volunteer organization of the year.
- Delaware Valley Veterans' Home (DVVH) in Philadelphia will recognize its 206 volunteers at an April 19 dinner. Collectively, the volunteers donated more than 17,000 hours to serve the residents, which is the largest number of volunteer hours of the six veterans homes. Four people will be recognized for volunteering at least 500 hours in 2017: J.P. O'Donnell (2,141), Helen Browning (1,088), Bernadette Donnelly (601) and Tom Donnelly (578).
- On April 20, the Southeastern Veterans' Center (SEVC) in Spring City is recognizing its 493 volunteers with a luncheon. The SEVC volunteers donated 12,258 hours last year helping residents.
- The Pennsylvania Soldiers' & Sailors' Home (PSSH) in Erie is hosting a luncheon on April 28 to honor its 476 volunteers. The volunteers donated 13,248 hours of their time assisting residents.
- The Southwestern Veterans' Center (SWVC) in Pittsburgh is recognizing its volunteers with a dinner on April 30. The 617 volunteers contributed 13,280 hours of service to the residents. Robert Abbott will be recognized as volunteer of the year.
"These celebrations are really only a small token of appreciation for the extraordinary work these volunteers do every day, all year long," said Andrew Ruscavage, director, Bureau of Veterans Homes. "We can't say 'thank you' enough for the personal time our volunteers donate to comfort, entertain, assist and talk with the residents, who always appreciate a helping hand and friendly conversation."
MEDIA CONTACT: Joseph Butera, 717-861-2178
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs