Serving Those Who Served
Knights of Columbus Veteran’s Affairs Service Program
When our country needed them our veterans answered the call to serve. Now members of the Fourth Degree are being called to serve our veterans through a new program: “Serving Those Who Served.” Our goal is to have an active corps of Knights serving as volunteers at every Veteran’s Administration medical facility in the nation. Patriotism is the principle of the Fourth Degree. Perhaps the ultimate patriotic expression is showing care and concern by “Serving Those Who Served.” The Fourth Degree needs you and our veterans need you.
Volunteers are needed at Veteran’s medical facilities on a regular basis. Through the “Serving Those Who Served” program assemblies are asked to form a corps of volunteers to meet the needs of our veterans on an ongoing basis. Just some volunteer opportunities for Fourth Degree Knights include:
- Coordinating volunteer activities — matching the volunteers available with the needs of hospitalized veterans;
- Supporting the Catholic Chaplains in their ministry of spiritual support to our Catholic patients;
- Encourage councils, auxiliaries, and Squires circles to support VAVS activities;
- Sponsor VAVS youth volunteers;
- Providing reception and information services — working in reception areas to provide information to visitors;
Let’s Answer the Call to Serve Them!
- Helping make patients comfortable by distributing toiletries, sweaters and other items that help make veterans more comfortable;
- Providing “Pet Therapy” — bringing pets to facility to interact with the veterans at appropriate places and times;
- Vocational rehabilitation — helping or providing the opportunity for veterans to participate in job skills programs;
- Arts and crafts — providing materials and programs that help veterans use artistic and creative skills;
- Patient visiting;
- Patient check-in and patient escort;
- Offering holiday celebrations — organizing parties for veterans;
- Taking patients to ball games or performances when possible; and
- Hosting picnics, parties or recreation outings.
Upon discharge from the VA facility some veterans find they have lost touch with friends and family. They need human companionship and a friendly, dependable Fourth Degree volunteer might be “just what the doctor ordered.” Discharged veterans need compassionate, caring and committed individuals to:
- Help them access community events and services; Share their time by visiting them, listening to them and talking with them;
- Note changes in the patient’s condition and inform the healthcare team; and
- Remember them on birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.
Many assemblies are not located close enough to a Veteran’s medical facility to make regular efforts practical. However, they may still participate in and make a valuable contribution to the “Serving Those Who Served” program. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination and the needs of the veterans. For instance:
- Organize a drive to collect clothing, coats, gloves, pajamas, robes, toiletries, etc. for veterans;
- Organize program to provide rosaries, bibles, Catholic religious literature, and Chapel items like mass bells, Easter candle holders, altar lines;
- Volunteer as Eucharistic Ministers to take Communion to bed patients;
- Collecting or developing a plan to buy television sets, VCRs, DVD players or stereo equipment to donate for use in medical facility common areas;
- Collect video and audio tapes, books, DVD and CD disks for the facility;
- Develop a plan to donate personal computers and computer programs, printers and other peripherals (as well paper and ink) for use by veterans;
- Travel to a VA facility to put on a special program or entertainment for patients;
- Plan and conduct a special outing, if possible, for veterans such as a picnic, a trip to the ballpark or a special community event;
- Plan a special holiday event and travel to the facility to conduct it for the veterans; or
- Adopt veterans at a distant facility and remember them regularly with cards and letters.