VA Maryland Health Care System
Volunteers of the Year
The VA Maryland Health Care System annually honors community members who volunteer throughout its facilities. At the VA Maryland Health Care System, volunteers do a variety of jobs, from visiting Veterans in their own homes to provide respite care for their caregivers, working in the transportation network to drive Veterans to and from their medical appointments, to visiting with Veteran inpatients to play cards or read to them. This year in Maryland, more than 1, 340 volunteers donated over 113,000 hours of service to serve the needs of hospitalized Veterans throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System. This combined support equates to an estimated value totaling $2,505,406 to the health care system. The VA Maryland Health Care System selected volunteers at its various locations as Volunteers of the Year. James May was selected as Volunteer of the Year at the Perry Point VA Medical Center, and Rose Thompson was selected at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. Walter White was selected as Volunteer of the Year at the Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center, and Richard "Dickey" Hargis was selected as Volunteer of the Year, representing the community-based outpatient clinics.
Oxford, Pa., resident James May, selected as the Volunteer of the Year at Perry Point VA Medical Center, consistently demonstrates enthusiasm for his duties, reports on time and doesn't leave early, racking up close to 200 volunteer hours this year. He shows initiative in providing assistance to Veterans and staff when he sees a need. He repairs and assembles equipment, and mostly, he spends any down time visiting and talking to Veterans.
Anne Arundel county resident Rose Thompson and her husband Art, a husband and-wife team, volunteer at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. A few years ago, Art Thompson won Volunteer of the Quarter, but this year Rose was selected as the Volunteer of the Year for her work coordinating volunteer drivers. Under her guidance, Baltimore's volunteer transportation network, which consisted of seven drivers transporting 100 Veterans per month, expanded to include a dozen drivers, transporting more than 300 Veterans per month.
For four years, Baltimore County resident, Walter White, an 80-year-old master barber, has spent every first Tuesday of the month at the Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center cutting residents' hair. He stays between 8 and 10 hours, volunteering his time, energy and talent, giving as many as 45 free haircuts in one day. As he cuts hair, trims beards and shapes mustaches, White, an Air Force Veteran, also chats with the Veterans who line up for the service and for the camaraderie of an impromptu barber shop.
Richard "Dickey" Hargis of Trappe, Md., who has volunteered on the Eastern Shore for 11 years, also serves in the volunteer transportation network, connecting Veterans from the Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic to appointments at the Perry Point VA Medical Center. Hargis also schedules the other volunteers to assure the run is always taken care of. He was selected as Volunteer of the Quarter and of the Year for his exceptional service and for going the extra mile to ensure both Veterans and other volunteers have what they need. During his time as part of the volunteer transportation network he has completed over 2,800 hours of service.