This Valentine’s Day, many Veterans who fought to preserve our freedoms will be hospitalized, receiving the medical care they earned, but separated from the homes and communities they defended.  No one should be alone on Valentine’s Day, and with the help of our grateful community, no Veteran has to be.

I would like to personally invite every one of your readers to show their love and appreciation to Veterans by visiting the Malcom Randall or Lake City Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers as part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients February 9-15.

During the National Salute, VA invites individuals, Veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers.

During the week we are excited to host many various organizations, groups, schools and others that are taking the time out of their busy schedules and visit our some of our facilities. Thank you to the following:

• Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary

• American Legion Auxiliary

• American Legion State of Georgia Visit

• Florida State University Volunteer Program

• Delta Gamma Fraternity, University of Florida

• University of Florida Mascot “Albert”

• Jaxon De Vile (Jaguars Mascot) visiting Veterans

• Villages Sons of American Legions

• Villages American Legion Auxiliary

• Elks

• Special Valentine’s meal to inpatients at both Malcom Randall and Lake City VAMC’s.

• Military of the Cooties and Auxiliary

• Fly Fishing Demo by Project Healing Waters

• SMART visit (Special Military Active Recreation Travelers)

• ReCreation Musical Group

• Daughters of the American Revolution, Caroline Brevard Chapter

• Daughters of the American Revolution, San Luis Chapter

• United Daughters of the Confederacy

• Red Cross

• Tallahassee Department of Motor Vehicles

• Many activities throughout the week hosted by Voluntary service and Recreation Therapy at the Malcom Randall and Lake City VAMCs.

• And much much more.

The love doesn’t have to end on Valentine’s Day.  Many of our Veterans are coming to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with special needs and challenges that require the hearts and hands of a new generation of VA volunteers. North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System invites citizens, young and old, to join us in honoring our Veterans year-round by learning more about VA’s volunteer program as well.

Every citizen can make a positive difference in the life of a Veteran patient.  Visits from community groups do so much to lift the spirits of our patients.  I invite every member of our community to participate.

Call our Voluntary Service office at 352-548-6068 for the Malcom Randall VAMC or (386) 755- 3016, ext. 392032 for the Lake City VAMC to schedule a visit and learn how to join the VA’s National Salute to Veteran Patients.

Thomas Wisnieski, MPA, FACHE

Director, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

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