VA Finger Lakes receives national awards

VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System in Canandaigua has received two national awards at the annual development and civic engagement (formerly voluntary service) national advisory annual meeting and conference, which took place May 28.

It received the National Male Volunteer of the Year Award and the National American Spirit Senior Award.

“We are so proud to have one of our beloved volunteers and civic organizations recognized nationally for their outstanding volunteer contributions to veterans in the Greater Rochester area,” said Bruce Tucker, director, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System.

• Gabe Cinquegrana, of the Sons of the American Legion, was selected as National Male Volunteer of the Year Award for his extraordinary service to veterans. That’s the highest honor in voluntary service given by the VA.

He has volunteered for nine years and accumulated over 9,000 volunteer hours. He assists in a variety of areas in the medical center, including the CDCE office, hospice, chaplain, homeless program and recreation therapy. His duties range from administrative and technical support to singing and playing guitar (face-to-face and virtual) for veterans. He volunteers in memory of his father, Michael Gabriel Cinquegrana, who served as a Navy cook on the U.S.S. Brookings from 1943-1947. 

• The Naples Activity Center (NAC), a ministry of the Naples Council of Churches, was presented with the National American Spirit Senior Award. This award recognizes NAC for its 30-plus years of service to Veterans. Over the course of that time span, nearly 50 NAC volunteers gave over 41,000 volunteer hours, providing meals, activities, entertainment, and companionship to a weekly busload of veterans from the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. Veterans looked forward to the scenic and therapeutic drive from Canandaigua to Naples and the welcoming group of volunteers. 

“These big-hearted volunteers were dedicated to making sure we had a pleasant day,” said Bob Barnes, an 87-year-year old Korean War veteran.