The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic has established itself as the world leader in adaptive winter sports programs for injured Veterans. But more than three decades of success would not be possible without the engine that makes it all go—the dedicated and selfless volunteer instructors, coaches and equipment fabricators.
At the clinic and throughout the rest of the year, DAV has numerous volunteer opportunities that enable interested individuals to continue giving back to the men and women who served.
DAV’s largest volunteer initiatives involve transporting Veterans to medical appointments and augmenting care and service in VA medical facilities, community living centers and clinics.
Volunteer duties are limitless, ranging from simply being a buddy to a Veteran during recovery or therapy to other more technical and professional opportunities. While the COVID-19 pandemic hindered volunteer efforts, in 2021 DAV volunteers still made significant contributions of their time to assist veterans through the VA Voluntary Service Program, the DAV Transportation Network and the DAV Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP).
In 2007, DAV created the LVAP for individuals who are interested in volunteering but do not live close enough to a VA medical center or who have special skills or talents they want to put to use helping our heroes. This program empowers volunteers to serve where they live and still receive the same incentive awards as those under the well-known VA Voluntary Service Program. From July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, LVAP volunteers performed buddy checks, delivered groceries and provided help to our nation’s heroes in a variety of ways. Overall, they donated nearly 1 million hours of service—and did this all while maintaining safe distance—to ensure that no veteran in need of help was left behind.
The options for volunteers under LVAP to provide direct assistance to Veterans and their families are virtually limitless. Volunteers can take on any task that might improve a Veteran’s life. In 2018, LVAP reached unprecedented heights, with volunteers dedicating more than 2 million hours in a variety of ways.
Since 1987, the nationwide DAV Transportation Network has provided rides to and from VA medical centers at no cost to Veterans. This unique program ensures Veterans, who may otherwise not be able to make their appointments, receive critical medical care. In fiscal year 2021, volunteers logged almost 8 million miles and provided more than 163,000 rides to VA health care facilities, saving taxpayers more than $14.5 million. Since DAV’s national transportation program began, more than 19 million Veterans have been transported over 730 million miles.
“Knowledge is power, and it’s our responsibility to make sure our volunteers, potential volunteers and participants here at the clinic are well aware of the many ways for us all to give back,” said DAV National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “Whether you can volunteer just an hour of your time or an entire day, it has a resounding impact on the life of the Veteran. Don’t think that just a short amount of time cannot make a huge difference. The need is too important.”
Year after year at this clinic, and on a daily basis across the country, you can see how crucial volunteer services are within the Veteran community. Visit VolunteerforVeterans.org to create a profile, volunteer with DAV or help connect volunteers with opportunities in your area.