Dundalk Resident Honored for Decades of Service to Vets

By Nicole Rodman, The Dundalk Eagle

Showing no signs of slowing down at age 87, Scrivani has spent the last five decades volunteering her time and skills to veterans in need, and now she is being honored for her efforts.

On May 31, Scrivani and five others received the 2010 Congressional Volunteer Recognition Award during a ceremony held at 2nd District U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger’s district office in Timonium. The honorees were selected by the Veterans Advisory Group, founded by Ruppersberger eight years ago.

“In 2003, I created a veterans’ advisory council to help me with veterans’ issues. I have Fort Meade and Aberdeen [Proving Ground] in my district, plus all of the veterans who live all over the district. That council helps me on veterans issues, and they also nominate volunteers for these honors,” Ruppersberger explained during a phone interview last week. Dundalk resident Lucille Scrivani received the 2010 Congressional Volunteer Recognition Award from U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger at his district office last month.

According to Ruppersberger, Scrivani was chosen to receive the award because “her service was above and beyond the rest.”As Scrivani noted, she was “surprised, yet thankful,” to receive the honor.

Since 1963, when she first started volunteering at the former Fort Howard Veterans Hospital, Scrivani has made it her mission to provide whatever small measure of comfort she could to sick and elderly veterans of the U.S. military.

When the hospital closed in 2001, she began volunteering her time at Baltimore VA Rehabilitation & Extended Care Center (BRECC), now called the Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center, where she continues to serve to this day. In addition to donating her time to come visit veterans at the facility, Scrivani donates her skills as well, sewing a variety of blankets and bags for use at the center.

According to Scrivani, she makes lap robes for patients to use when going outside and decorative bags in which walkers, wheelchairs and Foley catheters can be stored.

Creating the items from highly specialized patterns, each bag must be double stitched to ensure its durability. She creates the items at her own expense.

Once she has a number of items prepared, Scrivani travels down to the Loch Raven VA center, visiting with patients and handing out lap robes.

“It’s a pleasure for me to do that. I don’t mind sewing,” she said modestly of her work.As Scrivani noted, she is not donating money, but donating her “time, brains and hands” instead.

Concurring, Ruppersberger noted that “she uses all of her God-given talents to help veterans.”

When asked why she is so driven in her work with veterans, she explained, “When you go to the hospitals and see the patients that are there … you see them laying there, wanting help … it motivates you to help them in some way.”

Deflecting praise, Scrivani instead indicated gratitude that she is still able to volunteer.”I’m just blessed to be given the opportunity. The good Lord gave me the time and energy to do this. I enjoy doing this.”

According to a press release from Rep. Ruppersberger’s office, in her decades of service with the VA Maryland Health Care System, Scrivani has accrued 3,278 hours of volunteer work. In addition to her own work with veterans, Scrivani, a 50-year member of Dundalk American Legion Post 38, has recruited friends and fellow members to her cause.

“She’s like an Energizer Bunny — she keeps going and going,” Ruppersberger explained.

For her part, Scrivani hopes that others will follow her example in assisting the area’s most vulnerable veterans.

“Go to the hospital and ask if they need volunteers,” she urged, adding,”Do just like I did. Start helping wherever [you] possibly can.” For more information on volunteering with the VA Maryland Health Care System at Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center, call 410-605-7000, ext. 5877.