VA Maryland Health Care System honored with American Spirit Award for Excellence in the Young Volunteer category

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The Department of Veterans Affairs recently recognized the Office of Volunteer Service of the VA Maryland Health Care System with the American Spirit Award for Excellence in the Young Volunteer category.

BALTIMORE, June 10, 2021 / PRNewswire-PRWeb / – The Department of Veterans Affairs recently awarded the VA Maryland Health Care System Volunteer Service Office with the American Spirit Award for Excellence in the Young Volunteer Category. The Office of Volunteer Service won the award for its highly successful recruiting of high school students who answered the call for the Handmade Mask Program for Heroes of the VA Maryland Health Care System during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed by Allison Moon, then a student at Winston Churchill High School, the High Schoolers for Front Liners program she created involved students making fabric masks indispensable for the VA Maryland healthcare system. In total, the group donated 3,162 masks, of which 1,861 were made of fabrics and materials donated by the community through monetary funds or in-kind donations. The High Schoolers for Front Liners have become one of the leading sewing groups to complement the masks that have been distributed to veteran patients and non-clinical staff, saving the healthcare system on personal protective equipment (PPE) to clinical use and stretch resources.

“Their enthusiasm and hard work resulted in a massive number of sheet masks to distribute to our patients and non-clinical staff, which really made a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Susan kern, Program Manager for Volunteer Service at the VA Maryland Health Care System.

Moon formed the group by first recruiting a few of his friends to sew a handful of masks, and before long, with rare masks and personal protective equipment, word spread among students throughout. Maryland the counties and the group exploded, making and donating masks to local hospitals. As their production increased, they began providing cloth masks to the VA Maryland Health Care System.

“While we were making them, I discovered an article online about how some frontline workers had to make their own masks due to an intense PPE shortage,” Moon said. “I thought it could be an opportunity for students in our region to be part of the fight against COVID and to donate masks to health institutions in Maryland. I think even as students we have a responsibility to help our community to some extent, ”she added. “In all seriousness, I really just wanted to support our first lines, and I felt like there was nothing I could do. “

Moon’s response to the call for masks has benefited veteran patients and those who serve them across the VA Maryland healthcare system.

“When we look back to the spring of 2020, masks were scarce, so many of our veteran patients were especially grateful to receive a handmade mask that they could take with them for their daily use,” Kern said. “Groups like this have allowed us to serve our veteran patients in a unique and necessary way.”

Although Moon and his group were not the only ones to donate sheet masks to the VA Maryland Health Care System, which has received more than 12,000 masks to support veterans and VA employees, the High Schoolers for Front Liners have had a huge impact.

“We are delighted that our volunteer service program has been recognized for its efforts to inspire and recruit the next generation, the youth of today, to donate their time and talent to support our veterans.” , to be declared. David Edwards, head of public and community relations for the VA Maryland health care system. “

The American Spirit Award is a national honor created by the Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize highly successful volunteer recruitment initiatives in seven different categories: Student Recruitment, Senior Recruitment, Corporate Recruitment, Civic Recruitment, Faith Recruitment , recruiting from veterans service organizations and military recruiting. recruitment. This year’s award recognizes work done with student volunteers whose goal was to serve veterans and the VA health system during the pandemic.

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The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a wide range of medical, surgical, rehabilitation, mental health, and outpatient care to veterans at three medical centers and five outpatient clinics located statewide. Over 52,000 Veterans of various generations receive VAMHCS care each year. Recognized nationally for its advanced technology and quality patient care, VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veteran health care, research and education. It costs nothing for veterans to register for health care with the VA Maryland health care system and it could be one of the most important things a veteran can do. To register for VA Health Care, interested veterans can call 877-222-8387 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or they can visit http://www.va.gov and the clinic on “Apply Now for VA Health Care.”

Media contact

Rosalia Scalia, VA Maryland Health Care System, 410-605-7464, [email protected]

VA Maryland Health Care System



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