The Rutherford Report—Local Vet Volunteers at VA in Loma Linda

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“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

—Elmer Davis
Local Vet Volunteers at VA in Loma Linda

When Jimmy McCown got out of the Army in 2002, he went to the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System for his medical needs.

The 41-year-old Arrowbear resident discovered there were many volunteers helping veterans being treated at the medical center, and he decided he wanted to join their ranks so he could give back to his fellow veterans.

McCown had been helped by a volunteer working through American Veterans, better known as AMVETS, so he joined the organization and offered his services.

Today, McCown is one of a battalion of more than 1,300 volunteers supporting the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, Veteran Centers, Community Based Outpatient Clinics and the Riverside National Cemetery.

Using resources provided by AMVETS, McCown hands out coffee and snacks to patients, organizes special events such as barbeques for veterans receiving long-term care in the Community Living Center, and he provides them with information about veterans resources.

And, perhaps most important of all, he takes the time to speak with and get to know the veterans being treated at the facility.

“It makes them feel good to know someone still appreciates them for what they’ve done for our country,” McCown said.

One veteran McCown met couldn’t talk because of a tube in his throat. The man’s family lived out of state, so he did not have many visitors. But McCown stopped by the patient’s room regularly to keep him company and talk, even if it was mostly a one-way conservation. The veteran eventually recovered and ended up joining AMVETS so he could take part in some of the organization’s volunteer activities.

“We talk all the time now,” McCown said.

Volunteers provide a huge value to the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, said Voluntary Service Specialist Pat Moreno.

In addition to individual volunteers, about 25 veteran and non-veteran service organizations regularly provide support and volunteers to assignments such as escorting patients in the medical center, working in the canteen, helping with clerical work, and completing a variety of other duties throughout the medical center.

Moreno said patients really seem to appreciate it when fellow veterans volunteer their time to help out at the medical center because the vets have so much in common.

“The interaction between them is really awesome,” she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System should contact Pat or Diana at (909) 583-6011 or send an email to
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