Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Celebrating our VA Volunteers
Today is International Volunteer Day. It is a day to recognize volunteers, their contributions and promote volunteerism.
At VA, we have one of the largest volunteer programs in the Federal government, and many of our volunteers are Veterans themselves or family members of Veterans.
We spoke with one of our long-time volunteers, Army Veteran Tom Cotton. He has volunteered for 10 years at the Jack C. Montgomery Medical Center and currently serves Veterans at the Main Information Desk.
“I have been coming to this hospital as a patient for a long time," said Cotton. "This hospital has saved my life more than a couple of times. I like it here and I like being around other Veterans. When I became bored with retirement, I decided to start volunteering and I have been a volunteer here ever since.”
In 2008, Cotton started out donating his time in Patient Transport where he would transport Veterans throughout the hospital.
“Taking a Veteran where they need to go can make them feel more welcome, because it is more personal than simply telling them where to go,” said Cotton. “I know that’s how it made me feel the first time I came here and I’m glad we can offer that type of service.”
Since beginning his service as a volunteer, he has volunteered in many areas of the hospital and has enjoyed getting to know the employees and Veterans that he works with.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of volunteering here,” said Cotton. “People may commend me for volunteering my time here, but I am blessed to do it. Each day I can give back and serve our Veterans, I am reminded to be thankful to God for my own health.”
When asked what advice he would give to others who may be interested in volunteering, Cotton says don’t be hesitant to ask.
“VA needs volunteers in all areas,” said Cotton. “We have an outstanding facility here and I would encourage others to volunteer and give back if they can. I’m retired, so if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be here.”
If you are interesting in volunteering in Muskogee or any of our outpatient clinics in Tulsa, Vinita or McAlester, please contact Voluntary Service at 918-577-3621/3622.