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VA Voluntary Service


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National Salute to Veteran Patients

National Salute to Veteran Patients Logo

Veterans are entertained during National Salute week.

The purpose of the National Salute to Veteran Patients Program is to:

  • pay tribute and express appreciation to Veterans;
  • increase community awareness of the role of the VA medical center;
  • encourage citizens to visit hospitalized Veterans and to become involved as volunteers.

The week of February 14 each year is your opportunity to say thank you to a special group of men and women, more than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services who are cared for every day in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries, and nursing homes.

During the National Salute, VA invites individuals, Veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers. The activities and events include special ward visits and valentine distributions; photo opportunities; school essay contests; special recreation activities and Veteran recognition programs.

The week also provides an opportunity for the community to become acquainted with the volunteer opportunities within the medical center.

Also during National Salute week, selected cities host concerts that are free to Veterans and their families. The concert schedule is usually available around the first of January. Please check back then for a list of the cities that will be hosting the events. Many thanks to the organizational donors that make these concerts a success!

Contact your nearest VA Medical Center and ask for Voluntary Service to discover the wonderful things you, your group or organization can do to salute America’s Heroes. Locate the facility nearest you.

2017 National Salute Chair - Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips has enjoyed great success as an actor, director, writer, and producer across a myriad of platforms, including feature films, television, and theatre.

On television, Phillips currently stars on the acclaimed Netflix series, “Longmire,” based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels by Craig Johnson. He plays ‘Henry Standing Bear,’ Longmire’s closest friend. In addition, Phillips is a recurring character on the Disney animated series, “Elena of Avalor,” for which he voices the villain, ‘Victor.’ Last year, Phillips received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Drama or Comedy” for his role in the History Channel’s “Crossroads of History.”  Other recent credits include a pivotal role on the NBC series “Blindspot,” in addition to guest star roles on CBS’ “Training Day” and “Hawaii Five-0,” as well as Netflix’s “The Ranch.”

In 2013, Phillips won the “Best Supporting Actor” Award at the Milan International Film Festival and “Best Actor” Award at the 2012 Imagen Awards for his performance as ‘Jose Tonorio,’ opposite Gina Rodriguez in the Sundance Festival favorite “Filly Brown.” He was also nominated for an Imagen Award last year for his performance as ‘Don Lucho’ in the Warner Bros and Alcon Entertainment film, “The 33,” opposite Antonio Banderas and Juliet Binoche, which chronicled the story of the Chilean Miners that were trapped underground for several weeks.

Phillips is a dedicated veterans’ advocate and most recently, was honored to accept the offer to serve as VA’s National Salute Chairman for 2017. He is currently the National Spokesperson for the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well.  In 1993, he was the recipient of the Oxfam America Award for his dedication to ending world hunger.  As a passion project, Phillips hosted “An Officer and a Movie” on the Military Channel.

Phillips is also passionate about music and appeared in the 2013 MTV VMA nominated music video “Radioactive” for the Grammy Award-winning artist Imagine Dragons. Phillips’ other passions include cooking and poker. As a cook, he is known for his American Fusion style, and for “Sundays with Lou” on the set of his films, making glorious meals for the cast and crew as a way of bringing people together.  He has also taken his talent to the celebrity cooking world and appeared on, and even won, numerous cooking competition shows, including “Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” and “Sauce Boss,” while also being asked to serve as a celebrity judge on “Iron Chef America” and competing on “Chopped Tournament of Stars.”

Phillips, originally born in the Philippines, was raised in Texas and is a graduate of University of Texas at Arlington with a BFA in Drama.