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VA begins ‘Summer of Service’ for volunteers to help veterans


A new nationwide initiative – a “Summer of Service” – seeks the help of citizens in the Pacific Northwest to create and build partnerships to grow the number of individuals and organizations serving Veterans here.

VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) is renewing its commitment to Veterans by inviting the community to visit and explore opportunities to serve Veterans during an open house, the week of June 28.

“We have made progress over the past year addressing the challenges we face in delivering care and benefits to millions of Veterans and their families,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. “While there is more work to do to honor our commitment to Veterans, we also recognize that VA cannot do it alone. We are asking Americans everywhere to join the Summer of Service and help us give back to those who have given so much to our nation.”

In the coming weeks, VAPORHCS will be working closely with congressional partners, Veterans Service Organizations, mayors and local communities, private sector and non-profit organizations, and VA employees to identify new and innovative ways to support VA’s commitment to care for those who “have borne the battle” and their families.

“Our volunteers, community partners, Veterans Service Organizations, and congressional partners at VAPORHCS are second to none,” said Joanne M. Krumberger, VAPORHCS Director. “We would not be able to provide the level of care we do without the support they provide to our staff and the Veterans we serve. Our goal with the Summer of Service initiative is to inform others of needs and opportunities to raise this to a new level across our health care system.”

As part of VA’s Summer of Service, VAPORHCS will host an open house during the week of June 28 in Portland to spur increased local engagement and welcome members of the community interested in supporting the needs of Veterans. Details will be communicated in the coming days. VA nationally has also established the following goals to achieve by Labor Day:

* Increasing the number of volunteers: Committed to engaging with 100,000 volunteers nationwide to support care and benefits programs and local events.
* Increasing community partners: Committed to expanding current agreements to provide services and support reaching Veterans and family.
* Recruiting Medical Professionals: Hiring clinicians and clinical support staff to further expand access to care and homelessness.
* Congress: Host congressional members and staffs at VA facilities across the country.

The VA has an outstanding volunteer program, which will be highlighted throughout the country this summer. VA will build upon the ongoing work of its more than 350,000 employees and 76,000 volunteers around the nation and the 800+ volunteers across VAPORHCS’s 12 sites of care. While the central focus of the campaign will be increasing volunteerism and partnerships, it will also provide individuals and communities an opportunity to support other important priorities. Despite a hiring effort that brought more than 11,000 net-new employees onboard over the past year, VA still needs more health care providers, claims specialists, medical support assistants, and cemetery directors to continue to expand needed services. VA’s partners can help by getting the word out this summer.

In an effort to improve the Veteran’s customer service experience, VA has begun the most comprehensive reorganization in its history. The initiative, called MyVA, has been guided by ideas and recommendations from Veterans, employees and stakeholders.

“There is no mission more noble than serving Veterans and their families. At VA, we constantly strive to improve the way we do our job,” said McDonald. “State by state, community by community, person by person, there are a number of ways we can all come together to serve Veterans. From expanded partnerships with the private sector and non-profit organizations, to accelerating hiring, to celebrating the commitment of VA employees and volunteers – we need the help of communities everywhere to succeed.”

Volunteers can help serve Veterans by visiting to find out the needs of your local VA facility. Follow #VASummerOfService on Vantage Point, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and join VA in caring for America’s Veterans.

The VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS ) serves more than 90,000 Veterans in Oregon and Southwest Washington. VAPORHCS consists of the main tertiary care medical center located near downtown Portland, Ore., the Vancouver Campus located near downtown Vancouver, Wash., a Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) in downtown Portland, as well as nine community outpatient clinics across Oregon that support our Veterans. These clinics are located in Bend, East Portland, Hillsboro, Warrenton, Newport, Salem, The Dalles, West Linn, and Lincoln City.

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