Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
Overton Brooks Youth Volunteer
Overton Brooks Youth Volunteer wins DAV scholarship
In 2017 as Alana Lewis applied for the 2018 Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship, her sights were set on finishing high school and pursuing a degree in Hospitality Management and Tourism. As time passed Alana had not received the status regarding the DAV scholarship application—Alana almost forgot—but just a few weeks ago a large envelope came in the mail.
“I was so excited to receive this scholarship. Knowing that many people from around the country apply for this scholarship, receiving a small portion was so exciting for me,” Alana grinned.
The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program honors young volunteers who serve Veterans. Although Alana did not receive the top scholarship worth $20,000, she proudly accepted the $5,000 award and represented Overton Brooks VA Medical Center as an outstanding youth volunteer.
“This scholarship means so much. Although I love giving back to Veterans, academics is essential to me, so this scholarship helps, and knowing it is a DAV scholarship is very exciting, because of the DAV’s commitment to Veterans.” Alana added that she is proud of her family’s military heritage. “Also, I have many family members who have served in the different branches of the military. Just knowing how important they are to the country makes me want to give back to Veterans.”
“It is obvious Alana is a very talented young lady,” said Richard Crockett, Medical Center Director. “Learning of her academic successes, extracurricular activities, to include creating a pageant platform called LOVE—Love Our Veterans Everywhere—is amazing. We all wish her great luck as she begins her college journey. We are proud of Alana.”
Alana, 18-years-old, officially started her volunteer career at OBVAMC at age 13, when youth are allowed to apply and participate in voluntary service programs. However; her mother has worked as an inpatient physical therapist assistant for the past 18 years, so Alana had spent many unofficial hours with Veterans when she visited her mom on the job.
“She’s dedicated to Veterans,” said Cheryl Lewis, a proud mother. “Our family is very proud of her achievements and her spirit of service and giving back. There were many times Alana could have been out with friends, but she was here at Overton Brooks serving Veterans, and that was her decision.”
“Before I was 13 I would make the Veterans cards and draw pictures for them,” she said. “I love just interacting with the Veterans, talking to them and listening to their stories. That makes my day every time.”
Alana begins her freshman year at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches this fall.