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United States Department  of Veterans Affairs

In the Spotlight

Celebrate National Salute to Veteran Patients Week!

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) served an estimated 6.1 million Veterans at medical facilities throughout the country. Men and women from a variety of backgrounds and ages are patients at VA medical centers every day.

During the National Salute to Veterans Patients Week, beginning February 12, 2012, you can salute and support VA patients in your community.

"It's a great week for the communities to be involved and see what services VA provides and how they might be able to serve the Veterans in their community," said Laura Balun, VA's Voluntary Service Director.

Established in 1978, this week coincides with Valentine's Day and gives citizens an opportunity to thank our Veteran patients. There's a lot you can do:

    Did You Know?

    This year's Chairman for National Salute to Veteran Patient Week is actor, West Point graduate and Operation Desert Storm Veteran Mark Valley.

    Valley served in Desert Storm and is best known for roles in "Harry's Law," "Boston Legal," and "Fringe."

    Mark Valley

  • Volunteer: Call your local VA medical center and ask to speak to Voluntary Services. Or visit the website to fill out a form to be contacted by your facility.
  • Donate: Your time and service can be used by a local Veteran Service Organization who works closely with Veterans in your community.
  • Find/attend an event: Use the Facility Locator on My HealtheVet to find a VA facility hosting an event this week near you. Events include concerts, recognition events, celebrity events and much more.
  • Learn about Veterans Resources: Know a Veteran in need? VA has several resources for Veterans:
  • Veterans Crisis Line: Connects Veterans in Crisis and their families through a confidential toll-free hotline (1-800-273-8255), online chat ( or text (838255).
  • Homeless Veterans: Know a homeless Veteran? The VA has a National Call Center for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Call 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838) or Chat Live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Make the Connection: Connecting Veterans and their friends and family members with information, resources and solutions to issues affecting their health, well-being and everyday lives. Discover positive steps you can take—all in the words of Veterans just like you. Visit the website to learn more.
  • Send a valentine: Since 1988, the late columnist Ann Landers devoted one of her columns to the National Salute. She asked her readers to send valentines to our hospitalized Veterans. Each year, the column, now called "Ask Annie," has repeated this request and hundreds of thousands of valentines have been received.
  • Make your health a priority! Salute yourselves by making your health and wellness a priority. Veterans can use tools such as My HealtheVet to manage prescriptions, view appointments, track dietary and exercise progress, talk securely with your medical team and much more.

The core of the VA's mission to honor our Veterans extends beyond just medical care, and the National Salute to Veteran Patients embodies the spirit of that mission.

For a complete listing of Valentines for Veterans Concerts:

For more on National Salute to Veteran Patients:

To find a VA facility near you, visit the My HealtheVet facility locator:

To volunteer for the National Salute to Veteran Patients, visit the VA's volunteer page:

Updated/Reviewed: February 16, 2012

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