VA Maryland Health Care System
Director's Valentine's Day Message
Valentine’s Day is a great time to say thank you to Veterans throughout the country. The VA National Salute to Veteran Patients Week observance runs from February 9 through 15, and is timed to coincide with Valentine's Day to connect the holiday’s sentiments of caring and sharing with expressing honor and appreciation to Veterans for their sacrifice and service. Already, Valentine cards are arriving at our three inpatient facilities to attest to the gratitude toward our nation’s Veterans. During this observance throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, local community musical groups have volunteered to perform throughout our facilities, bringing their music, their talents and time to Veteran inpatients.
As part of this week-long observance, the VA Maryland Health Care System invites community members to learn more about volunteer opportunities at any of our VA inpatient or outpatient facilities. There are more than 1,340 volunteers who gave over 113,000 hours of service during the past year to support the needs of Maryland’s hospitalized Veterans. We cherish the time and talent volunteer community members dedicate to our Veteran patients.
We hope that Marylanders continue to remember the needs of our Veterans with a show of support and appreciation through continued visits and volunteer involvement. At the VA Maryland Health Care System, community volunteers can choose from an array of activities and assignments that can make their experience enjoyable for them and for our Veteran patients. Whether you volunteer to sit and chat with a Veteran patient, help them to write letters, or come with a musical instrument to play for their enjoyment, just being present with a smile is sometimes all it takes to brighten a patient’s day.
Every citizen can make a positive difference in the life of a Veteran patient. Visits from community groups and individuals do much to lift the spirits of our patients, some of whom may not have family to visit them. Many returning Veterans are coming to the VA Maryland Health Care System with special needs and challenges that require the hearts and hands of a new generation of VA volunteers. For Veterans, knowing that others appreciate their sacrifice and service can go a long way in the healing process.
I invite every community member to participate in any small way they can to thank the proud American men and women who have served and sacrificed for freedom around the world. You can send Valentines to our Veteran inpatients, or better yet, sign up to participate as a volunteer. Anytime community members visit or interact with Veteran patients, it serves as an excellent reminder that their sacrifices are appreciated.
To schedule a visit during National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, please contact the Voluntary Service Office at one of the following VA Maryland Health Care System facilities:
- Baltimore VA Medical Center, (410) 605-7100
- Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center, (410) 605-7000, ext. 5877
- Perry Point VA Medical Center, (410) 642-1038
To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities available throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, please visit our Volunteer web site at: http://www.maryland.va.gov/giving/volunteer.asp
Please help us show Maryland’s hospitalized Veterans that they have not been forgotten by calling and scheduling a visit to one of our VA Maryland Health Care System facilities today.
Dennis H. Smith
Director, VA Maryland Health Care System