Memorial Day is less than two weeks away, and while many Iowans talk about supporting the troops and veterans, volunteers are needed year-round at the Disabled American Veterans to help local men and women who served in uniform.

John Kleindienst is a U-S Marine Corps veteran and the DAV’s national voluntary services director. He says the impact volunteers have on the veteran community is invaluable. “When an individual volunteers for a veteran or a veteran’s family, they get to hear his side of the story and establish a relationship that continues to grow and prosper,” Kleindienst says. “So, I hear stories all the time from our volunteers and I hear stories all the time from veterans, how meaningful it is for volunteers to step in and fill critical gaps.”

The number of veterans who need additional support is rising, especially since the number of volunteers has significantly dropped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DAV offers a variety of scholarships for young people who volunteer through the organization.

“We do award 10 scholarships annually valued at $110,000. Our top scholarship is $30,000,” Kleindienst says. “(All) an individual 21 years of age or younger has to do is get out and volunteer for veterans and give us 100 hours or more in order to be eligible for our scholarship.” The organization is now accepting applications for the 2024 scholarship season.

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