Phillip Allen, of Salem, was one of 10 people recognized for his contributions and significant service to Wisconsinites during a 2020 Governor’s Service Awards ceremony on Oct. 15.

Phillip Allen

Allen, a Veterans of Foreign Wars member, earned the Veteran Volunteer of the Year Service award.

The Governor’s Service Awards honors outstanding volunteers, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps participants and programs, veterans, local volunteers, and AmeriCorps alumni that address serious social needs across Wisconsin, including specific recognitions this year for those responding to COVID-19.

The awards are sponsored by Serve Wisconsin, which is the state commission for national and community service.

“Senior Corps and AmeriCorps members were some of the first folks to step up to the plate to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, rising to the challenges in front of us by connecting virtually with students and those at high risk for COVID-19 by providing critical assistance of students, helping those that are the most vulnerable or in need in our communities, and by distributing meals and supplies and PPE,” said Gov. Tony Evers.

“This good work exemplifies our shared Wisconsin values, empathy, compassion, service, and taking care of our neighbors, because that’s what Wisconsinites do. And it is needed now more than ever, as our communities and neighbors struggle with new challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us. Our state is stronger because of folks like you.”

As for Allen, meanwhile, he has dedicated countless hours as a volunteer of the VFW.

When asked why he has dedicated his volunteer time to multiple Veterans of Foreign Wars efforts, Allen said he wanted to show appreciation for his comrades.

“I can help other Veterans. The Vietnam Veterans were not treated very well when we got home. We need to show Veterans that they are appreciated by us and our country.”

Allen served in the Navy from 1967 to 1968 in Chu Lai, a large air support base, during the Vietnam War, according to an awards snapshot.

As the VFW State Hospital Director, he has traveled throughout the state, meeting
with Veterans Administration hospital directors to continuously improve the volunteer support the VFW can provide and leading a legion of Veterans Administration Voluntary Services (VAVS) Representatives that provide resources, support, and companionship to veterans in Wisconsin veterans homes and VA Medical Centers.

When family members from afar call to inform the VFW of a dying veteran in one of the hospitals, Allen ensures someone is there and that “No Veteran Dies Alone.”

He helped lead efforts to dramatically improve the experience for veterans staying at the Zablocki VA Medical Center Hospital by obtaining new beds and furniture and arranging for local and national restaurants to donate food for their meals.

Allen also serves as the State VFW Chaplain, speaking with those in need throughout the year and organizing an annual memorial service to honor those veterans that have passed away and express support to their families.

Through his multiple volunteer efforts, Phillip Allen has made a significant difference for hospitalized veterans and provided valuable support to numerous veterans throughout Wisconsin.

“We have an exceptional and inspiring group of honorees this year that hail from all parts of the state and have performed a diverse array of service. I am amazed at the variety of service that they have done. I am also sobered by the continuing challenges faced many of our fellow Wisconsinites and the wish the needs our volunteers were solving did not exist, and we all know that COVID-19 has only amplified the needs in our communities,” stated Jeanne Duffy, Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin.

“Today you will be inspired how AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and VISTA members and volunteers have risen to the challenge. They have continued to serve even at risk to their own personal safety and others have completely changed course to respond to needs that have arisen from the pandemic.”


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