March 18, 2004
| Recently selected as the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Volunteer of the Year for 2003, veteran Frank Elmore serves a fresh bag of popcorn to two loyal customers.
photo by: Nikki Verbeck, MEDVAMC Voluntary Service Specialist
HOUSTON, TX - A veteran making his way down a long hallway at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) stops, sniffs, smiles, turns to another veteran, and asks, "It's Popcorn Day, isn't it?" Tuesdays and Thursdays at the MEDVAMC are known as Popcorn Days because of a small group of dedicated veterans selling the tasty snacks to raise funds for volunteer activities. Frank Elmore is one of those veterans and was recently selected as the MEDVAMC Volunteer of the Year for 2003.
Popcorn is just one of Elmore's jobs at the MEDVAMC. He also serves as a Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Representative for the Military Order of the Purple Heart and is a member of the VAVS Executive Committee. As if this wasn't enough to keep him busy, he is an active member in several other veteran organizations including the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Frank began his volunteer work at the MEDVAMC nearly 30 years ago after coming to the VA for treatment of injuries he suffered during the Korean War. "A lot of people helped me. I felt like I owed the same respect to others," said Elmore.
During the last three decades, Elmore has volunteered more than 12,000 hours serving our Nation's hospitalized veterans. As the years have gone by, Frank has realized that although volunteering provides a service to others, he gets something out of it as well. "It's a good place to work and meet people. I get to talk and joke around, instead of sitting at home staring at the walls," Elmore said.
Elmore's co-workers at the MEDVAMC enjoy working with him, too. "Frank is always smiling and joking with those around him. He raises everyone's spirits and that makes him an inspiration to work with," said Mary E. Ware, MEDVAMC voluntary service assistant.
"Frank is one of my most dependable volunteers. He characterizes the true spirit of volunteering, and the patients and employees feel that a day without popcorn is a day without sunshine," said Bryan J. Dyck, MEDVAMC voluntary service program manager.
For these reasons and for his dedication to fellow veterans, Elmore was chosen as the MEDVAMC Volunteer of the Year for 2003. The MEDVAMC honors community volunteers like Elmore during National Volunteer Week, April 18 - 24, 2004. Elmore encourages 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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Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs04/07/04 07:02