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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Volunteers Show the Spirit of Volunteerism

March 15, 2007

Volunteers of the Year give their time to serve our
Nation’s hospitalized veterans

HOUSTON, TX – Sunday morning is a time for spirit and smiles outside the Chapel at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC).  Patients get a smile along with their coffee and doughnuts before and after the morning services from Mary Daigle and Cornelia Samson, MEDVAMC’s Volunteers of the Year. Daigle and Samson have volunteered over 1,900 hours each over the last 12 years, serving veterans attending chapel service at MEDVAMC. They have been volunteers since 1962 performing various tasks long before they registered with Voluntary Service.

As members of the Catholic Daughters, Daigle and Samson started volunteering together. Both ladies, who are in their eighties, keep volunteering because they enjoy the work and love helping people.

“They do their task with their spirits filled with service, and are outstanding because they love doing something for veterans,” said Chaplain Clarito Rara, who nominated the pair for Volunteers of the Year.

Although they help serve coffee and doughnuts to veterans before and after chapel service, their main volunteer purpose is to help and assist inpatient veterans to attend the service. When they saw a decrease in volunteers helping with coffee and doughnuts, they jumped in and took over the responsibility.

“They are very great ladies, senior citizens, who come out on Sunday to help veterans who can’t make it to service on their own,” said Housekeeping Supervisor Charles Ishmel.  “Not only do they give their time and presence, but also their goodwill and amiability to any veteran who comes to share their hospitality.”

For these reasons and for their dedication to fellow veterans, Daigle and Samson were chosen as the MEDVAMC Volunteers of the Year for 2006.  The MEDVAMC honors community volunteers like Daigle and Samson during National Volunteer Week, April 15 - 21, 2007.  Daigle and Samson encourage others to find out more about being a VA volunteer by calling the MEDVAMC Voluntary Service Office at (713) 794-7135.

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