VA volunteer Barbara Abbey awarded national honor

Travels to Texas from New York every year


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Volunteer Barbara Abbey

AARP held a contest this summer inviting Americans to nominate exceptional volunteers in the “Show Your Love Volunteer 2020” competition.

The San Antonio VA is proud to announce that volunteer Barbara Abbey was one of the top winners.

Elizabeth Cazares of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System nominated Abbey for her hard work and dedication.

Abbey travels to the San Antonio VA from Cherry Creek, New York, every November. She works as many hours as other full-time volunteers, working Monday through Friday nine hours a day. In the past two years she has not missed a day. Abbey has already volunteered 1,000+ hours this year.

12-hour shifts – including the night shift

She took a front seat in keeping staff and Veterans safe. When there was a call for staff to assist with screening at all hospital entrances, Barbara volunteered immediately.

In the first weeks, she screened 12-hour days covering various entrances and shifts, including the night shift. This critical assignment protected our staff and Veterans and allowed them to continue seamlessly caring for Veterans.

After assisting with screening, she jumped in to assist with staff meal deliveries. (Top photo) The medical center has been very fortunate to receive tremendous community support with meal donations for healthcare workers.

Abbey and another volunteer load boxes of food into a car.

Delivered over 4,000 meals

Abbey served as the pick-up and delivery person for community-donated meals. With a full schedule of sponsored meals and, on many days, double deliveries, she assisted in getting over 4,000 meals to the staff.

Many times, she delivered meals to staff at other clinics throughout the city.

According to Cazares, Voluntary Service Specialist, “We could not have done this without her unwavering dedication.

Service well beyond any expectations

“Barbara is not a Voluntary Service asset – she’s an organizational asset. Her service goes well beyond any expectations we can have in our volunteers. We are all grateful for Barbara and her selflessness, dedication and commitment. Her sacrifices on behalf of our staff and Veterans are unmatched.

“She volunteers cheerfully and readily because it is in her heart and because she knows she is not just making a difference in our Veterans’ lives. She is changing their lives for the better.

“It is inspiring to see Barbara united with staff and serving on the front lines by doing whatever is needed. Please join us in recognizing Barbara’s heroic service to our Veterans and staff.”

As winner in the AARP contest, Abbey was able to donate $1000 to the charity of her choice. She chose Los Padres, a charity committed to improving men’s health in San Antonio by creating community awareness about prostate cancer, particularly the need for early detection.

Author

Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.

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