Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center
VA Volunteers Honored
The Coatesville Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center hosted its Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Ceremony on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Approximately 120 volunteers and other guests attended the annual event held in celebration of National Volunteer Week which takes place from April 12 through 18.
“In times of need, there have always been caring individuals and organizations that quickly spring to action to help fellow human beings,” said Medical Center Director Gary Devansky. “They willingly give time, money, supplies, and services of all kinds to assist others. Today, we thank all of our VA volunteers and donors who care and share with the veterans who have done so much to protect us.”
At the Coatesville VA Medical Center in 2014, 661 volunteers gave more than 43,000 hours of service to veterans while donors contributed more than $650,000 in gifts and donations. At the luncheon, volunteers were presented national hours of service awards ranging from 100 hours to 10,000 hours; outstanding service awards; and special contribution awards.
The Hazel P. Harnish Memorial Award for Excellence in Volunteering, a prestigious local award that commemorates the years of loving and dedicated service of long-time volunteer Hazel Harnish, was presented to David Turner, Sr., Joy Turner and Samantha Turner.
Joy Turner accepted the award on behalf of the family. “Wow. Thank you. This is a huge surprise. We do what we do in memory of my son, David, who was a VA employee. David used to tell us what an honor it was to work with veterans who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. I’m overwhelmed.”
The Turner family founded David’s Drive 831, a 501(c)(3) charity to honor the life of their son and brother, David Turner, Jr., a VA employee who passed away suddenly in December 2009. Turner Jr. often expressed his desire to help veterans, and the organization fulfills his vision today through donating time and needed items.
Since 2010, David’s Drive 831 has donated to veterans at the Coatesville VA Medical Center: 190 new beds for those obtaining permanent housing through the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program; $155,000 worth of t-shirts, socks and under clothes; and 4,500 holiday gifts. The Turners and other members of David’s Drive 831 have also volunteered their time at various special events, including the VA2K Walk and Run, and the annual Scratch Team picnic for veterans in recovery.
Alfred Gerhardt with the American Legion Post 422 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90 received the 10,000 hour award; and Anna Walters with the American Legion Auxiliary Post 185 and James Porrecca with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Post 1777 received outstanding service awards.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering or donating items for veterans can call the Coatesville VA Medical Center Voluntary Service Office at 610-383-0228 or visit www.coatesville.va.gov.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) is the largest volunteer programs in the federal government. In 2014, more than 76,000 regularly scheduled volunteers contributed more than 11 million hours of service to our nation’s veterans, and donors contributed more than $71 million in gifts and donations.