CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center celebrated its volunteers on Wednesday with its 69th annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony.

The event was held in the Osborne Shelter of the Veteran Memorial Park with over fifty volunteers and their families in attendance. This was the first ceremony since 2019, as the pandemic brought the beloved tradition to a halt for three years.

75 certificates were given to volunteers alongside four major awards and one surprise award to one special volunteer who wasn’t expecting it.

Some volunteers that were recognized at this event had been with the medical center for over twenty years, with the longest-running volunteer, Marjorie Paugh running at 54 years of service.

Volunteer hours were also taken into account at the event with Dortha Parsons holding the highest record with 34,740 hours in her 29 years of service.

12 News spoke with Michael White, Chief of Voluntary Services at the V.A. Medical Center, on the importance of recognizing its volunteers.

“Our volunteers come in every day, they’re not being paid to be here, they’re being paid in dividends and love and the compassion and the energy they get from serving our veterans each and every day. I’m humbled every day I come to work,” said White.

The Louis A. Johnson V.A. Medical Center is always looking for additional volunteers. To put it in Michael White’s own words, “if it’s a day a month, if it’s a day a year, I would love to have each and every one of them”.

Currently, the V.A. is in need of DAV volunteer drivers to take patients to and from appointments. Find out how you can become a volunteer by calling White at his work phone number, 304-623-7621.