Clara Lewis, a longtime volunteer at the West Texas VA Health Care System, received the 2019 Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Auxiliary George H. Seal Memorial Trophy during the organizations’ 98th National Convention in Orlando, Florida last week.
“Miss Clara is an unwavering supporter of veterans and a trusted advisor to the executive leadership team of the West Texas VA Health Care System,” said JaNa’ Craenen, Public Affairs and Veterans Experience Officer. “We often refer to her as a force of nature, equal to the famous West Texas winds.”
Each year, the DAV selects one Auxiliary member from across the country who has gone above and beyond in service to the Department of Veterans Affairs and recognizes this person with the prestigious George H. Seal Memorial Trophy.
“Like so many DAV Auxiliary members, Ms. Lewis developed a passion for working with veterans when her own husband was injured,” said DAV Auxiliary National Commander Ellen Timmerman. “It has turned into her life’s work, and she has touched the lives of countless veterans through her decades of compassionate service.”
In 1975, Lewis began volunteering at the George H. O'Brien, Jr. VA Medical Center in Big Spring, Texas when her late husband, a Vietnam veteran, went there for care. In those 44 years, she has dedicated almost 44,000 hours of time to working with veterans and the VA staff. At 86 years old, Lewis still volunteers at least seven hours each day to support the West Texas VA’s mental health services, the community living center, voluntary services office, and the information desk.
The Voluntary Service Program at the West Texas VA Health Care System provides an opportunity to “serve those who have served.” The majority of volunteers are assigned to a variety of duties at the hospital; however, volunteer opportunities are also available at the outpatient clinics in Abilene, San Angelo, Odessa, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico.
Individuals interested in volunteering at the West Texas VA and giving back to our nation’s heroes, may call 432-264-4824 or visit www.bigspring.va.gov/giving to find out more.