VA health care facilities put out urgent call for volunteers


May 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

There’s a dire need for volunteers to help out at several Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Will Ackerman, spokesman for the V-A’s Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, says the vital corps of hundreds of volunteers absolutely help to keep the system running.¬† “We’re seeing a lot of our volunteers aging and certainly some of them are retiring or even passing away,” Ackerman says. “We’re really trying to encourage people of all ages, but especially some of our younger population, to get involved.” He says volunteers are needed for a number of services throughout the V-A health care system.

“We have about 800 volunteers throughout our Nebraska/Western Iowa Health Care System,” he says. “They do so many things that we just don’t have staff to do, such as doing coffee rounds in the lobby or around the floors, we have a transportation network and just greeters at our front door.” Ackerman says it isn’t just the V-A Hospital in Omaha that needs volunteers, but there are veterans’ clinics, community living centers and other facilities in many cities around the region, including Shenandoah.

“Volunteers do a lot of very important things and certainly there’s an opportunity for them to volunteer at a location that’s even closer to where they might live,” he says. Volunteer orientation classes are being held frequently in various facilities, often twice a month. An orientation class for teens, between 13 and 18, is planned at the Omaha V-A Medical Center for June 1st. Contact your nearest V-A facility for details on volunteering opportunities.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)