Awareness Day Primer: VA Medical Center

April 21, 2016


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Each year the University of Iowa softball team challenges its student-athletes to find an organization in the Iowa City community they are passionate about. For UI softball senior Holly Hoffman that was Iowa City’s VA Medical Center.


Serving more than 184,000 warriors living in 50 surrounding counties, the Iowa City Veterans Hospital will be one of six organizations honored by Iowa softball at its annual Awareness Day at Bob Pearl Field on April 23. A representative from each program will throw out the first pitch before the Hawkeyes take on Penn State in a Big Ten showdown.

Recently, Hoffman opened up about what it means to be a volunteer at the VA Medical Center.

Talk about the VA Medical Center and the purpose it serves?
“The VA Medical Center is a great hospital right here on the University of Iowa campus that helps serve a number of veterans in our community and all throughout the state of Iowa.”

Describe your experience volunteering at the VA Medical Center.
“I’m an escort for the VA, so we’ll receive calls from around the hospital to our office. They will call down and be like ‘hey we need you to take Mr. Robinson to get an ex-ray,’ so we’ll take him there or ‘we have a specimen,’ it could be blood or urine, ‘take it downstairs to the lab.’ We kind of just help the hospital facilitate and run errands.”

What do you find most valuable or rewarding about being involved with the VA Medical Center?
“I want to be a doctor, so getting to see how the hospital works and being able interact with patients is great. The most valuable thing is having the opportunity to meet awesome people and help them when they’re struggling, having a bad day, or whatever problem they may be going through. It’s also nice to be able to help lighten the work load of the nurses.”

When was your most recent visit to the VA Medical Center?
“I went earlier this week and I helped deliver specimen, delivered some mail, and found wheel chairs for patients. Each day is different depending on what the hospital staff needs at that time.”

Why did you choose to volunteer at the VA Medical Center?
“I chose the VA hospital because it’s very flexible with my softball schedule and I want to be a doctor so I wanted to be in a health care setting.”

What does it mean for UI softball to get involved and give back to the community?
“It’s great. It’s an opportunity for us as athletes to be seen as more than just athletes. People get to see us more in a different setting and I think that’s great for us. All in all, it’s great for the community.”

What is the purpose of Awareness Day?
“Not only is it a day to recognize how actively involved our team is with the Iowa City community, it’s a day that brings attention to the organizations that we work with. That’s what this day is all about. It’s good for both of us.”

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