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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center


Volunteering at Charleston VAMC

Current Volunteer Statistics

FY 2017 Total Volunteer Hours: 81,069
FY 2017 Volunteer Donations: $756,597.39

Veteran Patient Advisors 

Because the decisions we make affect our Veteran patients, we highly value their input. We are seeking Veterans who regularly receive care at our VA or clinics to participate on several committees. For this assignment, please directly email


To serve as a regularly scheduled weekly volunteer, please select two or three assignments from the Volunteer Assignments list, complete the application (signature not required yet) and email it to us, or fax to (843) 579-2761, or feel free to visit the Charleston VAMC Voluntary Service Office located on the main floor of the facility. Important: - if emailing your application, please complete it, save it to your computer, then attach it to the email you send to us.

After review of your application, we will send you instructions to complete an online orientation, complete the PPD screening, complete the required background investigation, and attend a brief interview. We conduct interviews Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a walk-in basis. Please review instructions sent to you carefully - you must bring all required documents as instructed to your interview or we will be unable to complete the process.

Affiliations: If you are a member of a Veteran Service Organization, please consider noting that organization on your application. If you are not a member of an organization, please still consider affiliating with one. While volunteers are not required to affiliate with an organization, we strongly encourage you to select an organization with which to affiliate your hours. Affiliated hours help all related organizations in their endeavors to serve Veterans. Please consider putting an organization of your choice on your application – a list of national organizations with local presence, and their missions, is listed here. Note that you do not have to join an organization to affiliate, and we do not share your contact information with that organization (name and hours only) without your consent.

If you cannot complete orientation online, you can attend a new volunteer orientation in person at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center on Fridays between 7:30 am and 2 pm. The entire process lasts about an hour. You do not need an appointment, just walk in during those hours but be sure to bring two forms of IDs. Most volunteer assignments require a 4 hour/week, six month minimum commitment (note that there are special provisions for students.) If cannot meet the six month commitment, or if you have special skills that might be utilized but do not see an assignment for those activities on the list, please call or email us to discuss.

Our VA Medical Center complies with VHA Directive 1192. This directive requires volunteers who have not obtained the current year’s influenza vaccine to wear a mask during flu season. Flu shots are available to active registered volunteers at no cost.

Episodic Volunteering

To serve occasionally, as a family, or as a group, please contact us.

Volunteer Drivers

Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Transportation Network Driver to help our Nation's finest get to their appointments?

1)  Complete the health prescreening checklist and if you have any disqualifying conditions, contact us.

2)  Complete a voluntary application, save it to your local computer and email to AND your prescreen checklist to us, or deliver in person or fax.

3)  CALL US at 843-789-7230 to schedule your physical, which we try to do on Fridays, but any other day is fine except Thursdays. We will confirm we have your application and prescreen checklist, so please make sure you’ve sent that in first. If you need a ride to your physical appointment, let us know at that time.

4)  Please complete the Volunteer Driver training. Links are below. We only need the first page (Driver Training Certification form) printed and signed, then returned to us by fax, scan, or regular mail. Thanks for your continued service to our Veterans.

5)  If you need a copy of your SC driving record, please visit the link below.

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles - Obtain your Certified Driver Record

 The 3-year unofficial copy you can get online is fine (save yourself a trip to the DMV!).

6)  When your have a scheduled physical, please click here to open the online general volunteer orientation in PDF format. At the end of the orientation, you will find a link to the assessment and completion certificates. Please complete both and bring them with you to your appointment at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center at 109 Bee St. Charleston, SC 29401.

Things to bring to your appointment:

  • Two forms of ID (driver’s license and social security card are ideal – for all ID options, call us.)
  • The completed general orientation certificate and assessment in step 6.
  • Insurance card and driver’s license.
  • Your driver training certification in step 4.
  • Driving record in step 5.

At your appointment, we’ll also initiate your background check and TB test (two more short forms we’ll provide here.) While the interview is short, the fingerprint, physical exam, and TB test processes can take about two hours – please plan your visit accordingly.

NOTE - Volunteers must have NO known HISTORY or DIAGNOSIS of the following medical conditions: EPILEPSY (seizure disorder), SYNCOPE (blacking or passing out within the last 1 year), HEART ATTACK (within the last 1 year), VENTRICULAR ARRHYTHMIAS (excluding random premature ventricular contractions), IMPLANTABLE CARDIOVERTER DEFIBRILLATOR (ICD), COMPLETE HEART BLOCK, USE OF CONTAINERIZED OXYGEN, STROKE and ACTIVE TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACKS (TIA’S), MENIERS DISEASE (active inner ear disease causing a balance disorder), and INTRA-ATRIAL CONDUCTION DELAY (IACD). These are considered absolute disqualifiers for volunteer drivers. 

College Student Program 

As a 152-bed tertiary, secondary, and primary care facility that delivers the best care anywhere to over 70,000 Veterans from coastal counties from the North Carolina border to Hinesville, GA, our VA medical center is an ideal site to learn about health care while serving those who served. Our student volunteer program has received awards from both VA nationally and the South Carolina Campus Compact. Our staff works individually with students to create high-impact opportunities to learn and serve based on each student’s unique aspirations, and the chance to honor our Nation’s Heroes is the best part.

While our existing volunteer assignment opportunities are posted on our website, students seeking tailored opportunities are strongly encouraged to talk with us and explore assignments. We generally require a minimum commitment of one four hour shift per week and because we know your semesters are shorter than six months, the six month requirement is waived for students accepted into the program. To apply, follow instructions above, and if you cannot find an assignment on the list that is perfect for you, just note on your application that you’d like to explore assignments, and we’ll discuss in depth at your interview.

Summer Youth Program

Summertime brings many pleasures of the season, and with it comes our Youth Program. It is a privilege to share with students the services we provide Veterans and offer them with the opportunity to participate in our Summer Youth Program.

Students will experience specific daily work assignments, educational presentations and events that are meaningful and helpful to their education while exposing them to career prospects that will carry them into their adult life.

For information about the summer program, visit the Summer Youth Program page.  

Contact Us

To contact the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC Voluntary Services Office, please email or call (843) 789-7230.

For current volunteer opportunities and non-commercial Veteran related community events, please subscribe here for our newsletter.