Since taking office as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki has met with BVL leaders on Veterans Day to meet and review the year. Traditionally, BVL presents the Secretary with a facsimile check representing the amount of money that BVL raised to help support recreation therapy programs for veterans recuperating in VA Hospitals around the country.
On November 11, at a reception for members of the Veterans Day National Organizing Committee, BVL leaders were looking forward to surprising the Secretary with a check in the amount of $852,684.00 — a 26% total increase in annual contributions since the Secretary took office in 2008.
However, the Secretary was the one who had the bigger surprise… In front of an array of leaders from Veterans Service Organizations and a variety of other dignitaries, the Secretary presented BVL with a special award recognizing the charity’s commitment to veterans. It reads, “With deep appreciation to the Bowlers to Veterans Link. Thank you for your generosity and support of Veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs. – Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.”
BVL BOD Chair Darlene Baker had learned earlier in the day that the Secretary suggested the mock check photo be taken in front of the reception room instead of at a separate meeting. “I was ready for something a little different,” explained Baker. “But I soon realized much more was brewing… the Secretary launched into a long tribute to BVL and our activities. He detailed the work being done by our volunteers nationwide and the commitment to the veterans cause for 70 plus years. He spoke of our dedication, allegiance and perseverance. Then, I saw the leadership of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, the Blue Star Wives, the American Legion, etc. starting to clap. It was truly an honor I will remember forever.”
BVL special guest and bowling proprietor John Sommer related that the recognition was not only for BVL, but the sport of bowling. Sommer recalled, “When the Secretary accepted our mock check he said that the contribution check is ‘testimony to the generosity of our nation’s bowlers.’ We want to send this message to all BVL contributors — so they recognize that they are appreciated at the highest level.”
View the video at the link below: