By Jennifer Martin - email
"To let them know somebody cares, it means a lot," said Clara Brent.
Clara Brent has been a volunteer at the VA for seven year.
"I became a volunteer because my father is a WWII veteran and my oldest brother was a veteran also," Brent added.
"My brother that passed away was the joy of my life," said Brent. "He just looked out for the vets and the family and I feel like it's my job to do what I can."
"I get hugs daily and I serve coffee and the price of coffee is a smile and with a smile you can also get your coffee fixed any way you want and you have a pack of nabs, or you can get a Little Debbie and you also have candy," Brent explained.
Brent isn't only there to serve coffee and snacks. She there to listen. To hold someone's hand. To be a friend or a surrogate family member to any veteran with a need.
"Sometimes they just want to talk. They sit around and visit," Brent said.
"A lot of times people's families have passed on and a lot of them don't have a lot of close friends that went in when they went in. They get a chance to laugh and talk to other people and that helps keep them going," Brent added. "When they come to the hospital, they know they're family."
Brent serves on board of directors for volunteer services and last year, won the President's volunteer service award.
"Being on the board they fly me to San Francisco every year and I get a chance to sit and talk with the people and see what we can do to get a veteran happy and smiling," Brent explained.
She doesn't get paid for the work she does, but volunteering has its own rewards.
"It's not about the money, it's about going to pay back. And if you give back and if a smile is all it takes to make a person's day, you should give that smile," Brent said.
"It gives you something to think about other than yourself. You're going to have problems every day of your life, but somebody's problems are worse. So yours won't look as bad if you go out and do something for somebody that's done something for the country. It will make you feel good, make your day worthwhile," Brent added.
She encourages everyone to volunteer, even if it's only an hour or two each week, to honor the soldiers who have sacrificed for our freedom. Do it for them and for yourself.
"I feel like if you do enough good things, good things are going to come back to you," Brent said.