How can you help our Tucson hospitalized veterans feel welcome?

Southern Arizona VA HealthCare System (SAVAHCS) has been serving American Heroes, our veterans, since 1928. Each volunteer at SAVAHCS (over 2000) assists in honoring our hospital veterans. One important part of the volunteer program is called Hero’s Welcome.

The only requirement to participate in the Hero’s Welcome program is to be a veteran – both men and women are welcome to participate.

The purpose: To describe the Hero’s Welcome (HW) program. HW volunteers enhance a patient’s experience during a meaningful, face-to-face visit conversation. The intent is to make veterans aware of services and resources available and to help answer other questions or concerns.

The scope: Veteran Volunteers visit patients admitted the previous day in each of four acute care units. During each visit, the volunteer will thank the veteran for his or her service, introduce the Hero’s Welcome Guide and ask if there are any questions or concerns the veteran may have, directing them to the appropriate resources.

SaddleBrooke volunteers so far have chosen Fridays to work. Depending on the number of volunteers we can recruit, visits will be made one to three times a month. Volunteers can also choose to divide the patient load with another volunteer (and share the drive).

To date, our volunteers have received many praises from hospitalized veterans as well as hospital staff. Volunteers will ask each patient to rate how SAVAHCS performs on a 1 to 10 scale and initiate service recovery with the appropriate departments for scores of eight or less. At the end of the shift, the volunteer submits each satisfaction survey to the Patient’s Advocate Office.

For more information or questions about this important program, please contact SaddleBrooke resident Joe Rink at

For more information on how to help our troops, visit the website of SaddleBrooke Troop support at (or