In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, AARP’s Create the Good launched its third annual Honoring Heroes contest to celebrate Veterans who help their communities and volunteers who help improve the lives of Veterans. Until Dec. 31, you may submit a photo and an essay of fewer than 500 words online that explains how your nominee gives back to their community.
The Grand Prize winner will receive $1,000, plus a $1,000 donation to the winner’s favorite nonprofit organization or VA medical center. Two runners-up will receive $500 each, and $500 donations to qualifying organizations of their choice. The winners will be announced in mid-February.
VA volunteer in Texas logs 1,000 hours amid pandemic
Earlier this year, as part of AARP’s Show Your Love Volunteer Contest, Barbara Abbey, a VA volunteer for the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS), was nominated and recognized for her hard work and dedication.
Every year, Abbey travels to San Antonio, Texas, from Cherry Creek, New York, to volunteer at least nine hours a day at the VA medical center. This year, due to the extraordinary needs created by the coronavirus outbreak, she has already recorded 1,000 volunteer hours.
“As STVHCS confronted the pandemic, there was a call for staff to assist with screening at all hospital entrances. Barbara volunteered immediately, and in the first weeks she screened 12-hour days covering various entrances and shifts, including the night shift. This critical assignment protected our staff and Veterans and leveraged staff to continue seamlessly caring for Veterans,” said her nomination essay from Elizabeth Cazares.
Abbey also assisted in getting over 4,000 meals to staff at clinics throughout the city.
“We could not have done this without her unwavering dedication to serve 24/7. Barbara is not a Voluntary Service asset – she’s an organizational asset,” said Cazares, a STVHCS staffer.
Abbey chose the Los Padres Foundation to receive a $1,000 donation from AARP on her behalf.
AARP volunteers send over 1,100 letters to Veterans, staff at VA facilities
In September AARP volunteers across the country hosted a card making project over Zoom to write letters to health care workers and Veterans at VA facilities and Fisher House military homes.
Over 1,100 letters were sent from volunteers in states across the country, including Arizona, North Carolina and Oklahoma. AARP plans to facilitate another cardmaking project in April 2021.
Aaron Kassraie is an associate writer and editor for AARP.