Service to our country is probably the ultimate demonstration of social responsibility, which is a core Y value and focal point of our work. As we all head back to work after this past weekend’s Memorial Day commemoration, I join all Americans in paying tribute to the brave women and men who make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of democracy and freedom. These are the highest of ideals well worth defending and honoring today and every day.
For this reason and so many others I am so proud of our Y associates, volunteers, members and participants from around the region who are coming together to give much needed support to our veterans. Thanks to the leadership of Y member and Vietnam veteran John Votta, also a Parkville Y Togetherhood volunteer, along with Y associates Diana Beeson and Eric Somerville, we are today kicking off a donation drive at all 13 of our Y centers. With John’s help, we learned there are veterans being treated at the VA in need of select personal items such as toothbrushes, bar soap, body wash, shampoo, playing cards and current magazines (up to 2 months old). From Memorial Day through June 12th, we will be collecting these items at all our Ys and other community sites.
In the best sense of community, virtually every aspect of Y community life is a part of this special effort, which began in April when families and kids decorated the collection boxes during Healthy Kids Day, with Y association office associates also getting in on the decorating fun! Then, on June 23rd, as part of their summer service experience, teen campers will be sorting donations with local vets at the Ward Y in Abingdon, Weinberg Y in Waverly, Dancel Y in Ellicott City, Orokawa Y in Towson, and Camp Whipporwill. Y Preschool students will be making cards for vets to accompany the donations. It all culminates during the week of June 25th as groups of Y volunteers will be delivering the donations to the local VAs and will have the opportunity to meet with local vets.
The centers we are serving include:
- Perry Point VA Medical Center
- Loch Raven VA Community Living and Rehabilitation Center
- Baltimore VA Medical Center
Thank you to John Votta for his service and leadership and thank you one and all for your heartfelt and meaningful efforts. In addition to satisfying a critical need and honoring our vets, we are also helping to satisfy a basic human desire to be generous toward others. Activities like this show the power of community and the importance of finding the many things which unite us as Americans and as people. With so many challenges in our lives and unfortunate focus on that which divides us, this is one shining example which reaffirms our common bonds and humanity.
Special thanks also to Y associates who worked in our centers today.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland