Volunteers restore Civil War era grotto at Dayton VA




In the early 1900s, the grotto and surrounding grounds of the Dayton VA Medical Center were recognized nationally as a garden paradise. It saw more than 600,000 visitors a year – nearly six times the population of Dayton at the time.

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Civil War Veterans relax in the grotto.

Over the last few years, many Dayton VAMC staff, volunteers and community partners have joined together in an effort to restore the grotto’s glory. The combined effort includes Dayton VA’s voluntary services, engineering and director’s office, as well as the American Veterans Heritage Center, Ohio State University Extension master gardeners and many volunteers, community supporters and donators.

“It’s a great example of a unique volunteer assignment that benefits the Veterans, the VA and the community as a whole,” Ryan Pleasants, chief of voluntary services, who oversees the volunteer program at Dayton.

Volunteers continue to work on the grotto reclamation project to support the overall Veteran experience and continue Dayton VAMC’s “Heritage of Healing.”

To find out more information about volunteering at the Dayton VAMC, visit www.dayton.va.gov/giving.


This article was written by Jon M. LaDue, a public affairs specialist at the Dayton, Ohio VA Medical Center.


VA takes its commitment to care for the nation’s Veterans and their families very seriously, and this summer, we invite all of you to join in that commitment. Community by community, state by state, our nation can work together to serve Veterans during the VA Summer of Service.

  • Look for VA at community events and engage our employees and partners.
  • Reach out to your local medical facility or National Cemetery to find out what you can do to help.
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