DES MOINES, Iowa — This week is being marked by the U.S. Veterans Administration as “Salute to Patients Week.”
“This entire week is salute to Host veterans, so we have all kinds of activities for veterans who are coming in for appointment and those who reside here,” said Gail Graham, Central Iowa VA Health Systems director. “School children do thank you cards, which the veterans always enjoy.”
The week is dedicated to serving some 35,000 veterans and their families in Des Moines, and five community-based clinics around central Iowa.
Various veteran groups have come in to offer sweets for the veterans who live here or are coming for appointments. The treats are given out at a table inside the main entrance.
This annual observation gives all Americans the chance to thank the more than nine million veterans who receive care from VA through volunteering and creating Valentine’s Day cards, according to a VA news release.
“VA values the contributions of our volunteers, donors and partners that help us keep the promise to America’s veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “I encourage more people to reach out to their local VA facility and find ways to volunteer not only during the National Salute to Veteran Patients, all year long.”
Each year, volunteers from schools, community groups and youth organizations nationwide send more than 100,000 Valentine’s Day cards to VA medical centers for National Salute to Veteran Patients. VA aims to increase awareness of each VA medical center by encouraging citizens to visit hospitalized Veterans, volunteer their time or donate to their local VA facilities.
In Des Moines, the event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day all this week. People are welcome to stop by to greet veterans during this week.