Gerry Falkowski, the coordinator for the Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota (DAV) Donor Connection Program, recently received a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Governor Mark Dayton for his dedicated service to the program. The MN Donor Connection Program works to connect Minnesotans looking to donate medical equipment with Veterans in need. Falkowski has been the vital link between linking this equipment and Minnesota Veterans in need.
The MN Donor Connection Program through the (DAV) began in 2010 and was revitalized in 2011. The goal of the program is to bring a better quality of life to Veterans and their families, thanks to donations given to ease Veteran’s day-to-day challenges with his or her health and/or disability. Since 2011 the revised Donor Connection Program has worked to have one person be the point of contact 24/7 to manage the efforts of connecting donors in Minnesota. Falkowski describes this as “the most gratifying volunteer thing I have ever done” He goes on to tell a very memorable story of success:
“One day I received a call from a lady who told me she was very fortunate that her son returned from Afghanistan safe and sound. She told me she wanted to donate her deceased sister’s fully handicap equipped vehicle to a wounded soldier who was not as fortunate as her returned son. She made it very clear it had to go to a wounded solder returning from Afghanistan. Two days later I received a call from the mother of a double amputee soldier returning from Afghanistan in the Minneapolis VA Medical center hospital prosthetics unit. She asked me if anyone ever donated a handicapped equipped vehicle. After I came down from the ceiling, I provided her the donor name and the two moms met in the hospital and then went to the license bureau to transfer the vehicle title.“
Falkowski has many more stories like this, which goes to show that his work is not only gratifying to him, but to the many families that he has helped along the way.
This past December Boston Scientific Corporation conducted a team building exercise in Minnesota involving the assembly of 18 wheelchairs. Upon completion of the program, the chairs were quality inspected and presented to the DAV of MN Foundations Donor Connection Program. The chairs were donated to the five Minnesota Veterans Homes and placed in the hands of Veterans in need.
In 2013 used durable equipment valued at over $500,000 was transferred from donors to disabled Veterans in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. This past year the MN Donor Connection Program received everything from crutches, to wheel chairs, to exercise machines, and even a few handicap equipped vans. All of which gets donated directly to Veterans.
For more information regarding donations or if you know a Veteran in need, please contact Gerry Falkowski at (651) 210 1161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.