Laura Knackstedt

4957 Geiger Road
Alhambra, IL 62001








The Hospital Program has been in existence for over 100 years since it’s beginning in 1914. This program has been able to endure the testament of time due to the work of our members. Our members continue to give of themselves to give support and aid to our Veterans and their families.

Veterans Health Care                                                      

Every year the Auxiliary works to improve the quality of life for our Veterans and their families. We continue to find new ways and ideas to help support our Veterans. This past year is a good reflection of how we must continue to make changes when faced with challenges. We must think outside of the box and find new and creative ways to raise funds, work on projects and find ways to get the things our Veterans need to them. Hopefully this coming year will see us being able to get back into the facilities and do what we do best, bring smiles and happiness to our Veterans.


Volunteer Recruitment, Recognition and Support                       

New volunteers continue to be needed in our Hospitals and VA facilities. Our volunteers help to reduce millions of dollars in expenses in our Veterans healthcare by their donations, time and giving of themselves. Our Volunteers continue to bring joy and a friendly, caring face to our Veterans at all the VA facilities. Many Veterans do not have family or do not have family close to visit with them. The work of our Volunteers helps fill this void. Reach out to your community and show them the important work you are doing for our Veterans. Many of the people in your cities and towns are unaware of the great work we do to support the Veterans. These Veterans are the ones that gave us the freedoms we take for granted every day in our lives. Help them to understand that it takes a team of everyone to support and give help to our Veterans, whether they live among us in the community or are in one of our VA facilities. Always give thanks and appreciation to those who are willing to volunteer. Everyone appreciates a thank you or a pat on the back for the work they have done. Recognize them and thank them for taking the time to commit of themselves to our Veterans.                    For information on ways to become a volunteer or ways to recognize a volunteer, go to the Hospital Program Guide at


Military and Veteran Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness

Educate yourself and your volunteers about the warning signs of suicide and the mental health of our Veterans. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis along with their family and friends with a qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responder. There is a toll- free hotline, online chat or text that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All information is confidential. • Call 800-273-8255 and press 1 • Chat online at • Text message at 838255 The Veteran and Military Suicide Awareness Blue Teardrop sticker is the VFW Auxiliary’s symbol to bring attention to this issue that it desperately needs. The sticker template is available on the National website at Involve your community to help educate people on the mental health issues, resources and treatment options that are available. In the future there will be a new 9-8-8 number being instituted to be able to get help to a Veteran in need quicker. We will update you as soon as it is available.




Honors Escort                                                             

Do you know what the Veteran’s end-of-life protocol is in either a VA or non-VA facility? As a daughter of a Veteran, I often wondered if my father was shown the proper respect after his passing at a non-VA facility.


Some VA facilities have an Honors Escort Program that is part of the end-of-life protocol for Veterans who pass while in their care. The Honors Escort is an opportunity to honor each Veteran in a respectful and open manner. It gives the Veteran’s family and friends the opportunity to honor the Veteran at their time of death.

At VA facilities, the ceremony is performed by trained employees, and ensures that the Veteran’s service, accomplishments and sacrifices are not forgotten as they are laid to rest. It also gives others at the medical facility an opportunity to pay their respects to the Veteran who has lost his life.

Find out if your local facility has an Honors Escort program. If not, speak with Volunteer Services to see about starting one. At non-VA facilities there is an opportunity to educate staff about how to pay respect to Veterans who pass while in their care. Share with them what the VA does and see if the Honors Escort Program can be modified to fit their facility.


Valentine’s for Veterans

Each year the week of February 14 is considered National Salute to Veteran Patients Week. We all know that we love receiving cards and presents. It is no different for our Veterans. Purchase store-bought cards or have handmade cards to hand out to our Veterans. Host a party or dinner in their honor. Include our youth and community in this great event. Everyone can use their creativity to show the care and compassion for our Veterans and service members.



How to be REPORTED in Hospital

Yearly Hospital Pledge: Hospital Pledge donations support the Hospital Program done by our Hospital VAVS Representatives.

Hospital Donations: Auxiliary Donations to Hospital Assignment. Check to see what Hospital/Facility your Auxiliary is assigned to. These funds help supply our hospitalized veterans with personal items they may need, hold parties and do various functions in their facility

** All donations MUST be sent to Department Treasurer and earmarked for the facility your Auxiliary is making the donation to in order for your Auxiliary to receive credit on monthly Donation List.

National Awards

(see page from National Hospital Ambassador)

Department Awards District Awards

  1. A Citation to the District Chairman who identifies and submits applications to Department for the Outstanding Hospital Volunteer of the Year Award by March 1,
  2. A Citation to the District Chairman for being 100% reported by December 31, 2021 in Hospital Donations and Pledges.

Auxiliary Awards

  1. A Citation to Auxiliaries donating to all 12 facilities the Department of Illinois Donations must be submitted to the Department Treasurer before December 31, 2021. Donations must be at least $1.00 to each facility.
  2. A Citation to all Auxiliaries making the required Hospital Pledge by December 31,
  3. Citation to every Auxiliary that provides outreach education about the Honors Escort Criteria and entry form are (required) available at Auxiliaries must send the entry form to the Department Hospital Chairman by March 31, 2022.
  4. A Citation and a Sewing Pin to each Auxiliary member that makes handmade items for any VA Medical Center, Illinois Veterans Home, local hospital or nursing home. Report must be submitted on the Sewing Pin Hours Report Form by March 31,

VAVS and Facility Representative Awards

  1. A Citation to VAVS, Deputy, Associate Representatives and Representatives at Illinois Veterans Homes that timely submit nine (9) monthly reports from July 2021 to March 31,
  2. An Award and Citation to VAVS, Deputy, Associate Representatives and Representatives at Illinois Veterans Homes recruiting one or more regular volunteer by February
  3. An Award, VFW Auxiliary Pin and Citation to VAVS, Deputy, Associate Representatives and Representatives at Illinois Veterans Homes having volunteer hours as defined in the Hospital Program Guide (See Department website)
  4. An Award and a Citation to the winner of the Outstanding Hospital Volunteer of the Year




We have provided a place here for you to download all of the information that we distribute to you through our Program Book and Bi-Monthly Chairmen’s Bulletins.  You will need Adobe Reader, it is a Free program and can be downloaded here  Get Adobe

2021-2022 Department Hospital Program

2021-2022 Department Hospital Report  (click here for online reporting)

2020-2021 National VFW Auxiliary Hospital Program

Voluntary Service Patient Needs & Services Wish List 2020

VFW Auxiliary Hospital Program Guide (Does NOT include VAVS)

Veterans Administration Voluntary Service

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 or text to 838255 or chat at

Women Veterans: and

Women Veterans Call Center: 855.VA.WOMEN (1.855.829.6636)

National Salute to Veteran Patients:

Hospital Wish Lists