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Worthy Supreme Master, Worthy Vice Supeme Masters,
During period 2-6 May, I represented the Order at the 60th annual meeting of the VAVS National Advisory meetin in sparks NV. The following report summarizes key information from the emeting for you and to forward to your District Masters for their information and action.
BACKGROUND. To bring everyone back up to speed on the VAVS and the NAC the following pertains.
1. VAVS Mission: provide a structured volunteer program under the management of the VA in cooperation with communtiy resources to serve America's veterans and their families with dignity and compassion. VAVS supports Va and VHA strategic goals by recruiting, supporting, and retaining a knowledgeable, diverse, and engaged supplemental workforce of volunteers. the volunteer progras thoughout the country assist managment in the delivgery of VA healthcare by improving access to care, ssisitng with long-term care, and improving patient satisfaction.
2. National Advisory Committee (NAC). The NAC advises the Under Secretary on matters pertaining to the participaion of volunteers in VA medical facilities, assists in recruiting and orientaiton of volunteers and keepsofficers and members of participating organizations informed of volunteer needs and accomplishments. In that the Knights of Columbus is represented at over 30 VA facilites, the Order is recognized as a Service Member organization and therefore has voting rights on the NAC. Participation on the local VAVs facility committee is defined as having a VA recognized representative on that committee. Any organization whose VA recognized representation missis three (30 consecuctive local VAVS facility quartely meeting will be cause for removal for the committee.
--Currently, the Order has certified representation at ~85% of VA medical facilities. However, attendance at VAVS local facility wuarterly meetings is about 50-60% Orderwide. per the policy stated above, VAVS representatives/Deputy reprensentatives who miss 3 consecutive meeting will be removed. This has not only adverse consequences to our VAVS local program but to the Order's participation overall.
2. National VAVS Executive Committee (EC). The EC is a working group selected from Service Member Organizations. The EC makes recommendations to the NAC on all areas of NAC business and activities. It serves as the governiong body betwen annual meetings of the NAC and is entrusted with the repsonsibility of fulfilling the EC Charter. The committee is also charged with selecting the site for the aqnnual meeting of the NAC. During nthe year, the EC will bve available to the Director, Voluntary Services Office for discussion, consultation, planning, and coordination of VAVS NAC programs and activities. The Knights of Columbus is a member of the EC.
3. Local VAVS Committee. Assists with the cooridnation of plans and policies for community particpation in the VAVS program. It is chaired by the Associate Facility Director, co-chaired by the Chief, Voluntary Service Program. Each participating organization has one representative and up to three Deputy representatives.
--Local VAVS Representative Duties and Responsibilities.
--Assisst with improving VAVS program
--Promote Donation of financial and material goods
--Advise and inform sponsoring organizaiton of VA
issues and concerns
--Attend and participate in VAVS quarterly meetings
--Serve on subcommittees and task groups
--Maintain organization's records (hours, donations)
--Coordinate facility activities and projects
--Conduct annual joint review
--Register as a Regularly Scheduled (RS) volunteer
--VAVS Representative Qualifications
--Sincere interest in the welare of hospitalized veterans,
veteran patients, and a desire to help them
--Ability to work with other
--Knowledge of organization (KofC, VA)
--MOST Important: Ability and committment to
attend regularly scheduled VAVS quarterly meetings
--Appointment of VAVS Representatives
--Nominated by the State level unit of the organization--
for KofC this is the District Master
--Certified by National Certifying Official
--Annual Joint Review (AJR) Process.
--Conducted annually at each VA medical facility to
assess an organization's participation in VAVS during
preceeding year and to delop goals and plans for the next
--The review is conducted jointly with the organization's
representatives by the VoluntaryService Program manager.
--A copy is sent to the organizations National Rep for
acknowledgement and review. [I have reviewed in
detail each review I have received to date and have
sent written note on each acknowledgment form to
VAVS representative with my thanks, recognition of
accomplhishments, and recommendations to help
with goal. Note is short, to the point]
Key Issues and Informaion
1. During the past fiscal year VAVS had ~140,000 volunteers oin the rolls, with 94,000 contributing ~13 million hours of volunteer service. This equates to ~6200 fulltime VA employees at cost of $228 million. (See attached VA news release)
2. During the past fiscal year, the Knights of Columbus had 708 regularly scheduled volunteers contributing 82,519 hours, with another 21,681 "occassional" volunteer hours for a total of 104,200 volunteer hours. This is a significant increase over 2004, with 523 RS volunteers contributing 51,821 hours, 9,678 occassional hours, for a total of 61,499. Recruitment of Regularly Scheduled volunteers is a primary function for the VAVS Reps/DepReps. District Masters and District Deputies must play a critical role in supporting this effort by the certified Reps.
3. The VAVS NACFemale Volunteer ot the Year is Chief Harriet L.Howard, USN/Ret., the WAVES National volunteer at the Tennessee Valley Heathcare System in Murfeesboro, TN. The VAVS Male volunteer of the Year is George Ridsdale, an American Red Cross volunteer at the Stratton VA Medical Facility, Albany, New York.
--During the fall, all VAVS National Representatives will be
notified that nominations for the next VAVS NAC meeting
are due with a February 15th deadline. Format for
submission is in letter style, 300-500 words. Specific
details for nomination are available form the Voluntary
Service program manager at each facility.
--KofC VAVS representatives should be encouraged
by District Masters to identify deserving candidates for
this award---Now is time to be alert to particularly
exemplary service by our Volunteers
4. Programs of Interest
--Healthier US Veterans.
--Joint VA/HHS program to fight obeisty and diabetes
endemic to over 2/3 our veterans.
--See attached news release for information
--FYI, all donuts, unhealthy snakcks are being eliminated
at all VA health centers, Burger King contract terminated
--Program encourage major "lifestyle" change [VAVS reps
at each facility should alert our volunteers to this
program and to "why" the changes are in effect]
--Kickoffs held in Washington, Dc, with Boston and Seattle
--Great program for all KofC units to consider--from
Supreme Office, down to local councils and
--VAVS Generations: Family Volunteering. To encourage
youth volunteering, increase number of volunteers, especially
the "baby-boomers",and to tap the strength and diversity
of the American Family, KofC VAVS reps should encourage
family volunteering. Details at www.va.gov/families
--Partnering. KofC VAVS reps at local VA facilites should
look for opportunities to "partner" wiith other VSO organiza-
tions programs, e.g. Golden Age Games, National Wheelchair
Games, Disabled Winter Sports Clinic, National Veterans
Creative Arts Festival, etc.
--"Home away from Home" for familis of active duty military
or veterans receiving medical care at a miltiary or VA
Medical Center. Similiar to "Ronald McDonald House"
primary purpose to support and provide lodging for
families while visiting the hospital for extended periods of
time due to patients receiving care
--Fisher Houses located throughtout the country---see
www.fisherhouse.org for details and locations
--Exceptional program for Assemblies and Councils to
provide support, e.g. donaitons of paper goods, linens,
food, books/videos, etc.; assist in fundraising efforts both
to support existing house sand devleopment of new Fisher
--Office of Seamless Transition VA has opened this office to develop strategy and plans to ensure "seamless" transfer between DOD military health facilites and VA for our OIF/OEF wounded. Will be meeting with the head of this newdepartment in near future to determine what support KofC can render in this critical effort to prevent our wounded military from "falling through the cracks" Mlore to come on this program
KofC VAVS Program Specific
1. Appointment of additional Deputy National Representatives
--Each organization can appont up to eight (8) Deputy
--Working on initial appointment of four (4) "regional"
deputy representatives centered on the four exisitng
Polytrauma Centers--Richmond, Tampa, Palo Alto, Minne-
apolis, with Richmond the first appointment as test
--During the NAC meeting, met with the Voluntary Service
Program Managers for each facility---very supportive of
--Will present plan to Supreme Master for approval and move
ahead with appointments and duties, cooridnation with the
VSM for each effected Province
2. New KofC VAVS Brochure
--In final draft, being prepared for "debut" at State Deputy
organizational meeting June 7-11
--Additional tool for recruiting Assemblies, Councils,
Auxiliaries, Squires Circles to participate in program, recruiit
individual volunteers, increase support to Catholic Chaplains
Acknowledgement. S/k Joseph Fournier, LTC/USA/Ret., KofC VAVS Rep, VA Sierra Nevada Heath Care System, Reno, NV, that served as host to this 60th Annual NAC meeting, served on the executive planning committe, worked the registration desk each day, and supported me during the meeting----exemplary perfomrance as VAVS rep and Sir Knight Much appreciation, Joe!!! Semper Fidelis.
KofC participation in the VAVS is critical to support our nation's veterans. With the influx of seriously wounded OIF/OEF active duty military into the VA heathcare system for lon term rehabilitation before discharge and then after discharge, the anticipated opening of additonal Polytrauma Centers both Level 1 (inpatient), Level 2 (outpatient) need for volunteers is growing dramamtically across the system. VSMs, Masters, as well as State and District Deputies must get behind this important program if we are to coninue our support of our Nation's veterns and their families. I will continue to forward imprtant informaiton about the VAVS program, recommend new initiatives.
"To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan" Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugral--the motto of the VA