After her US Navy Vet husband died, this woman started to volunteer her time at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Over the years, she has spent thousands of hours donating her time and care to veterans in need.
Mary Allen started volunteering at the Veterans Affairs center soon after her husband and Navy Veteran passed away over 25 years ago. Since she started, she has spent over 20,000 hours at the center. That’s over two year’s worth of volunteer time.
“I have done everything in this building,” said Allen. “I just started volunteering, because I didn’t have anything to do after I retired. You’ve got to do something to stay alive.”
Allen is a favorite among the staff and patients at the medical center. “She’s a pistol,” said Army Veteran April Goodwin-Gill. “She’s so excited about being a volunteer, and she takes it very, very seriously. It really means a lot. She’s been instrumental in me not just getting a hand out, but a hand up.”
According to Allen, one of the best and simplest things she can do to help is to pray. “Some of them come sit beside you and want you to pray for them,” she said. “I never prayed for people before, but they sit down and lay their head on your shoulder, and you pray for them.”
This week, Allen was honored by the Voluntary Service Department of Veterans Affairs for her volunteer efforts. She was presented with the President’s Voluntary Service Lifetime Achievement Award by the director of the Voluntary Service Department Sabrina Clark.
“One, desire. You want to give back. Two, a passion for something. What you do, you do really well. And three, we’re looking for someone who has some time. If you put those things together, we’re going to find something for you to do,” said Clark.
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