A little help from friends
October 1, 2012 1 Comment
By Tyler McAvoy (’13)
Danny Mallory (’08) wanted to give back to his community, but wanted to do more than just donate money to charity. He wanted to donate his time. So he, along with other members of the Richmond, Va., chapter of JMU’s alumni association began visiting the veteran’s hospital to provide company for veterans undergoing treatment for head trauma.
“We’re taking their minds off constant rehab, and treating them like real people,” says Danny, who is president of the Richmond chapter.
The alumni group puts on a pizza dinner once a quarter to help the veterans with their social skills and transition back into normal life. Danny’s group provides the veterans with an opportunity to focus on something else besides their day-to-day struggles, befriending them.
The Richmond veteran’ hospital is the only one in the nation that provides rehab services for vets with head trauma, which means that many of the patients being treated there are far from friends and family.
“For most of us, an hour of our time means little, but can mean everything to someone who only communicates with doctors most of the day and is thousands of miles away from their families,” Danny says.
Curtis Robb, who works at the hospital and has seen the JMU group in action, says: “This visit provides our patients the opportunity to interact and practice their social skills with people outside the medical center. It is always beneficial for our patients to have the opportunity to interact with someone other than staff as this assist with their transition back into the community. The impact will vary as each patient has different skills that they are working on and goals they are working toward.”
“I really wanted to connect JMU alumni to something that was directed more toward time rather than money,” says Danny. “Although giving by means of money is always good because that’s how organizations stay afloat, I definitely think giving your time is just as precious.”
The program just hit its two year milestone in September, and the RVA alumni chapter has more visits planned in the future.