Anthony Wayne Lions Club helps veterans, their families through projects with VA hospital and DAV

Billy Jones, second from left, the secretary of the Anthony Wayne Lions Club, presents a plaque to Erica Jones, chief of voluntary services for the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System hospital in Fort Wayne. The plaque completes the Lions Club's legacy projects with the VA and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Also pictured are Jay Miller, left, VA assistant director of operations, and Luther Green, a member of the VA voluntary services staff. (Courtesy of Anthony Wayne Lions Club)
Members of the Anthony Wayne Lions Club, in yellow shirts, presented a plaque Thursday at the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System hospital in Fort Wayne to mark completion of two club legacy projects involving the VA and military veterans. Holding plaque are Erica Jones, VA chief of volunteer services, and John Whitmore, Anthony Wayne Lions Club member. (Courtesy of Anthony Wayne Lions Club)

The Anthony Wayne Lions Club in Fort Wayne completed its legacy projects with the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System by presenting a commemorative plaque Thursday to VA officials at the hospital in Fort Wayne.

Last year, Lions Clubs worldwide celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of their service organization. As part of anniversary activities, Lions Clubs International asked each club to do a legacy project to benefit their local community, said John Whitmore, a member of the Anthony Wayne Lions Club who helped coordinate the club’s legacy projects.

Anthony Wayne club members, a few of whom get care from the VA or had fathers who did, decided to focus their club’s legacy project on helping the VA, Whitmore said.

“About a year ago, we made contact and met with a group of individuals from several different areas of the VA to see what we could do that would be helpful,” he said. “Transportation to medical appointments was one of the critical needs.”

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization provides transportation to veterans, but it regularly needs vehicles because they put a lot of miles on them, Whitmore said. “In the six-month period ending in April 2018, they put over 276,000 miles on their (three) vehicles for over 6,800 veterans trips,” he said.

The Anthony Wayne Lions donated $500 to the DAV to go toward the purchase of a new van, Whitmore said.

“We wanted to do more and worked with the VA as to something that would help veterans and their families waiting for medical appointments or care,” he said.

VA staff suggested a charging station for the 4th-floor, inpatient waiting room, which would allow patients and their family members to charge cell phones and other mobile devices, Whitmore said. The Anthony Wayne Lions Club donated $500 for the charging station.

The plaque presented Thursday expresses the Anthony Wayne Lions Club’s support for VA and DAV and the work they do, Whitmore said.

“We plan to continue working with the VA and hope to be able to assist in raising funds for vehicles for the DAV,” he said.


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