Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
Overton Brooks Honors Volunteers
Overton Brooks VA Medical Center recognized hospital and clinic volunteers in a ceremony at the Shreveport Country Club, April 7. Among those recognized were Male and Female Volunteers of the Year as well as others who earned recognition for giving hours and even years of their time to the hospital.
“We simply could not do what we do without our volunteers,” said Dr. Mark Enderle, director of Overton Brooks VAMC, “and they do what they do because they’re passionate about serving our Veterans.”
Voluntary Service, a division of Overton Brooks VAMC, coordinates all volunteer activities throughout the medical center to include its community based outpatient clinics at Longview, Texas, Texarkana, Ark., and Monroe, La. Choosing a Male and Female Volunteer of the Year was a challenging task given number of VA volunteers who work in the tri-state area, according to Reginald Hardy, chief of Voluntary Service.
“We talked about it amongst ourselves and with hospital leadership and we felt that Male Volunteer of the Year should be Dale Tobias,” Reginald Hardy said. “He’s so enthusiastic and he does everything you tell him to do. He’s amazing.” Hardy added that it was his “diligence to duty and his willingness to help fellow Veterans” that earned him the award.
“I think they made a mistake,” said Tobias, laughing. “It’s almost a sin, really, because I’m having way too much fun. I enjoy what I do and it’s simple.”
Tobias, a Veteran of the Vietnam War, volunteers as a driver for Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, transporting Veterans from their homes to the hospital so that they can receive health care. He served six years in the Army and 17 years in the Army National Guard.
Female Volunteer of the Year is Elaine Brown, the wife of a Veteran, who has given 12 years to the medical center.
“I was very surprised,” Brown said. “I’ve been doing volunteer work for the hospital for 12 years and it all comes from the heart.”
Brown also serves as the Voluntary Service Committee Representative for the VFW Auxiliary, according to Hardy.
Those volunteers who have logged more than 8,700 hours of service received engraved plaques and special recognition from hospital leadership with some volunteers giving 11, 12 and even 22 years to the medical center, according to Hardy.
Each CBOC under Overton Brooks VAMC received its own volunteer banquet with the exception being that of the clinic in Monroe, La. Voluntary Service invited those volunteers, mainly drivers, to the main facility’s banquet, according to Hardy.
“Volunteers provide an invaluable service to both the staff and patients at Overton Brooks, whether that service is through serving food, providing customer service or transporting Veterans to and from the hospital” Hardy said. For this reason, he asks that everyone who visits Overton Brooks VAMC should show their appreciation for their efforts. “Everyone should stop and tell a volunteer ‘thank you’ for serving our Veterans,” he added.
Voluntary Service traditionally hosts banquets to honor its medical center and clinic volunteers during National Volunteer Week, which was observed April 6-12 of this year by presidential proclamation.