Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Charleston VA honors volunteers at awards banquet
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center celebrated National Volunteer Week April 10 through 16 by holding three special awards banquets for VA volunteers serving in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Savannah and other surrounding areas.
Each year, VA Voluntary Service coordinates these appreciation events to recognize and honor the volunteers who selflessly give of their time in service to Veterans. This year's main facility banquet, which celebrates Charleston, Goose Creek and Trident volunteers, took place at the Redbank Club on the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, South Carolina, on April 14. Myrtle Beach volunteers were invited to an awards dinner at the area American Legion Post on April 12 and Savannah, Hinesville and Beaufort volunteers celebrated on April 19 at Barnes Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.
"Our volunteers do so much to keep the hospital running smoothly," said Chief of Voluntary Service Fred Lesinski. "So much of what you do each day is crucial to Veteran care and we simply could not do it without you. We're here today to honor your commitment to service and to say thank you."
In 2015, VA volunteers, roughly 750 of them, served nearly 86,000 hours in 65 different assignments at the main medical center and its community based outpatient clinics. Volunteer drivers drove 318,000 miles bringing more than 6,500 Veterans in for medical appointments. In addition, more than $325,000 in cash and in-kind donations were contributed through Voluntary Service to provide needed items for Veterans when no other resources are available.
"I truly stand here in awe of the work that you do - of all that you accomplish," said Charleston VA Medical Center Director Scott Isaacks. "I am proud that I have the opportunity to serve alongside you each day. Thank you for your dedication, Thank you for your service to this country and for taking that one step further and serving our Veterans as volunteers."
Volunteers are given certificates noting their hours of service. Recognition begins at the 100-hour mark and increases incrementally from there. One dedicated volunteer, Milton Davis, received a Superior Service Award at the Savannah dinner for serving more than 17,500 hours - the equivalent of about seven years of full-time work.
Volunteers Charles Frederick, Jerry Stout, William Turner and Thomas Ward were each presented with a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteering 4000 hours or more.
For information on how to donate or volunteer, please contact Voluntary Service at (843) 789-7230, or visit www.charleston.va.gov/giving.