American Legion members and others can participate in a new initiative, “Summer of Service,” announced by VA.

The goal of Summer of Service is to increase the number of citizens engaged with assisting veterans in their communities. In the coming weeks, VA will work with congressional partners, the Legion and other veterans service organizations, and others to identify new and innovative ways to support VA’s commitment to care for those who “have borne the battle.” Keeping the tradition of never leaving a man behind, Legionnaires have actively participated in VA’s Voluntary Service Program since its inception in 1946.

During the first half of fiscal year 2015, nearly 7,000 American Legion volunteers accumulated 400,301 volunteer hours by serving at various VA medical centers, community-based outpatient centers, vet centers, nursing homes, state veterans homes and other facilities that support hospitalized veterans. In fiscal year 2014, 7,857 American Legion volunteers contributed 856,960 hours, saving the VA more than $19.7 million.

In every VA medical center, Legion VAVS representatives and deputy representatives attend quarterly hospital meetings, coordinate volunteers and compile donation needs lists with their local posts. At the local level, posts also participate by offering their facilities and members to the VAVS program, sponsoring youth volunteers, and partnering with local businesses and agencies to provide services to veterans.

As part of the new initiative, during the week of June 28, VA will hold open houses in VA facilities to welcome community members interested in supporting the needs of veterans.

For more information, visit www.va.gov/vasummerofservice.

Volunteers who wish to participate should visit the volunteer website (http://www.volunteer.va.gov/) to find out the needs of their local VA facility.