BY BILL WAGNER — STAFF WRITER — Sept. 24, 2006 — Many of the veterans who stepped forward to defend their nation in wars past continue to serve their country and their comrades.
They are the volunteers who assist the professional staff at VA medical centers through the 50 states and in the veterans’ homes where retired and ailing vets find a haven in their declining years.
For the most part those volunteers go unsung and unrewarded except for the thanks of the men and women they assist during the day.
Some might chauffeur veterans around in wheelchairs, read to them, or even drive passenger vans so those unable to drive might get to a VA facility for treatment.
A typical volunteer is Bill Zwick, of Scranton, who over the years has become a mainstay of the VA Volunteer Service at the Plains Township VA Medical Center.
Mr. Zwick is an Army veteran of the European campaign in 1944 and 1945 who, despite his advancing years, still manages to make the rounds greeting patients and directing visitors who drop by the medical center.
He does his duties without public notice, but that changed recently when the Bulge Bugle, official publication of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge featured his work.
Mr. Zwick belongs to the VBOB Susquehanna Chapter, which has been particularly active providing volunteer help to the medical center’s VAVS.
The chapter also recently called attention to a copy of the VAVS Summary of Annual Joint Review which commented on the services provided by volunteers.
The review stated that the volunteer program is maintained in an exemplary manner despite problems with illness and inability to recruit new members.
Nonetheless, the report said, “the organization continues to thrive under the excellent leadership of Representative Zwick … a regular member of the VAVS executive committee and very active with all of their projects.”
The review received an “excellent” rating in every phase.
“I wish we had more volunteers,” Mr. Zwick said. “The people here deserve all the help we can give them.”
Mr. Zwick fought in the Bulge with the 80th Infantry Division, 905th Field Artillery Battalion, Company B. He was an early member of VBOB, holding card LC0029, meaning that he is a life and charter member and was the 29th to join the organization.