A Veteran Serving Veterans

Since 2006, RSVP volunteer Jim Wolter has given more than 750 hours of his time serving veterans at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He transports patients to the building where their appointment is located.

Jim was a US Army medic for 25 years. He feels, as a veteran himself, a sense of camaraderie is reinforced through volunteering, “Servicemen take care of each other,” he says. His rides are the beginning of an escort program that continues inside the building. Some of the veterans physically cannot walk or would exhaust themselves getting across the large campus, others are anxious or nervous, but all are coming to the VA to improve their quality of life.

Jim says that everyone has a story and part of his volunteer job is listening to those stories. Volunteering has allowed Jim to meet veterans who have won medals and awards to go along with their stories. Jim thinks that these decorated and visible veterans represent “the rest of us,” the veterans who are not publicly known, but are just as important. Military service changes people, “some for the better and some don’t come out okay,” according to Jim. His time as a medic made him familiar with death, but it also made Jim want to help fellow veterans when he can. In the future, he sees himself volunteering for the St. Cloud VA Health Care System’s Hospice program.

-Jackelyn Bekius