Bill Jacobi, department commander of Alaska, visits with a local American Legion volunteer. Photo by Loren Holmes

Number of volunteers increasing

The American Legion had some great gains this year volunteering at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. Legion VA Volunteer Services representatives brought in more than 2,400 new regularly scheduled (RS) volunteers. Since 2007, the Legion has averaged approximately 6,300 volunteers; that number has climbed to 8,807 RS volunteers currently. The increase allowed the Legion to log an additional 3,855 RS hours, providing consistent and much-needed support for U.S. veterans.

However, there is still much work to be done. Even though the Legion increased in all categories dealing with RS volunteers, overall hours dropped due to a decrease in occasional hours. Occasional hours are usually captured in large or small events, where many volunteers participate, and could easily be used as a recruitment tool for RS volunteers. Legion occasional hours went down by 9,378, causing an overall loss in total hours by 5,523. For the year, the Legion donated 938,306 total hours.

The goal for fiscal 2012 is to increase the total number of hours to more than 1 million. Instrumental in this process is tracking all service hours and creating new events to increase the services provided. For ideas about how to get involved with VAVS, contact Brian Bertges at or Amanda Leigh at in the Legion’s Washington office.