Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
Volunteer Recognition Week
Elizabeth “Liz” Curran, a volunteer at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, says that helping others is “in her blood.”
“I was a registered nurse for 37 years,” Curran said, “I retired from Bossier Medical Center in 2000 and I was a ‘Pink Lady’ after that, making sure that the patients got what they needed.”
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Curran can be found serving coffee to Veterans at almost any point in the hospital. The volunteer says that “it’s all about serving those who have served us.”
“I travel up, all the way to the tenth floor,” Curran said. “Sometimes I run ‘em up, sometimes I run ‘em down. By now (Veterans) know to look for me. They always ask, ‘Where’s the coffee?’”
The Michigan native says that she enjoys giving back to those who have served their country, being familiar with such service herself. Curran was a military spouse until her husband’s retirement from the Air Force in 1973. She has lived in the Greater Shreveport/Bossier Area ever since.
“I’m thankful for this place,” Curran said. “My husband received care here.”
After retiring from her nursing career, Curran volunteered at Overton Brooks VA. In addition to serving coffee and popcorn to the Veterans, she also provides customer service by directing patients to the services they need by “telling people where they need to go.”
Charles Rodney Clark, a Navy Veteran who has volunteered at Overton Brooks VA since 2006, also provides customer service to his fellow Veterans.
“I’m serving people who have sacrificed for their country,” Clark said. “I’m also kind of like the ‘go to guy,’ providing mentorship for some of our newer volunteers.”
To Clark, volunteering at Overton Brooks VA, means helping those who have sacrificed for their country and, at one point or another, giving up their quality of life and health. Familiar with this aspect of selfless service, Clark decided to give back.
“I was receiving health care here,” Clark said, “and then I saw an opportunity to volunteer and help Veterans— I had to be with ‘my kind’ on a day-to-day basis. There is just something about lifting their morale and helping out where I can.”
Clark went on to win Volunteer of the Year in 2008 for his work at Overton Brooks VA after only two years.
“I received a very nice crystal plate that year,” Clark said, “and I’ve received other awards as well, but I don’t do it for that; however, I look at those awards and I say to myself ‘this is what I’ve done with my time, this is what I’ve done with the past ten years of my life.’ This began as hobby and then it became a passion.’”
Voluntary Service, for Overton Brooks VA, will recognize a new Volunteer of the Year as well as others like Curran and Clark during National Volunteer Week, April 6-11. This recognition will span across the Overton Brooks VA catchment area— an area that includes the Community Based Outpatient Clinics at both Longview, Texas and Texarkana, Ark. as well the hospital.
“We’ll have three luncheons— one for each CBOC and one for the hospital,” Reginald Hardy, said. “We’ll have gifts, trinkets and awards for those who have done an outstanding job serving our Veterans. We’ll also recognize a ‘Male and Female Volunteer of the Year.’”
Hardy, Chief of Voluntary Service at Overton Brooks VA, also says that those who have logged more than 8700 hours of service will receive engraved plaques and special recognition from hospital leadership.
“Right now we have a few volunteers at the Monroe CBOC. They’re actually drivers and we have invited them to come to the luncheon for Overton Brooks VA,” Hardy said.
According to Hardy, Volunteers provide an invaluable service to both the staff and patients at Overton Brooks VA, whether that service is through serving food, providing customer service or transporting Veterans to and from the hospital. For this reason, he asks that everyone who visits the campus should show their appreciation for their efforts.
“Everyone should stop and tell a volunteer ‘thank you’ for serving our Veterans.”