Appreciating Volunteers of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Pictured: Sid George, Wall Volunteer who passed away this year. Credit/Dan Arant

Volunteers of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are seen wearing yellow hats and matching yellow shirts, standing by the Wall with pencils, name rubbing papers, tissues, and knowledge of everything you could have wanted to know from the memorial. VVMF has approximately 90 Wall Volunteers, people whose jobs are to “keep watch” over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which holds over 58,000 names. About 50% of our Wall volunteers are veterans themselves, aside from other National Park Service (NPS) volunteers, who also keep a watchful eye over the memorial and offer the general public knowledge of its being.

Every year, VVMF holds a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon where we thank and recognize our volunteers for all they have done that year. While we show our gratitude to those men and women who devote their free time to The Wall, VVMF also takes the time to recognize one outstanding volunteer who shows exemplary service to the community and VVMF. The Libby Hatch Volunteer Award recognizes a volunteer’s outstanding commitment and tireless effort in preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Ron Edgington is this year’s recipient. Ron, a Wall volunteer for over 25 years, is known by his fellow volunteers and friends as a “missionary and wonderful man in the neighborhood.” An avid participant in Wall events and ceremonies, Ron holds roles in VVMF’s annual Christmas Tree Ceremony at The Wall and in the Vietnam Reading of the Names that is held every few years. Always known for reading the last block of names, Ron’s reading slot is usually cast at around midnight. And while he is known to love his job at The Wall, he is also a humanitarian. After Hurricane Katrina, Ron headed to Mississippi to help veterans in the area who lost their homes to the tenacious flood. Known to be sharp as a tact, Ron’s hobbies involve making maple syrup and horseback riding. Ron is known to many as a “truly wonderful man.”  He served as a VVA Chapter President while also sharing in his biggest passion – NASCAR racing. When he found out he was a recipient of the award, Ron said he was honored, but insisted that others were just as qualified. He hopes to continue volunteering, saying it has been a “privilege” to volunteer at The Wall and that he has “made such wonderful friends.” VVMF’s volunteer coordinator, Erika Ross, says that “talking on the phone with Ron is like talking to your best friend.”

While VVMF was pleased to honor our 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award, VVMF regrets to say that Wall Volunteer Sid George passed away this year. Sid, who was a dedicated Wall volunteer, was very near and dear to the volunteer group. Sid volunteered at The Wall for more than 25 years. A 2006 recipient of the Libby Hatch Award, he is a glowing example of the legacy of service. Sid served his country in the U.S. Army for 25 years in both WWII and Korea. He then worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Navy for 20 years. Even after two retirements, he wasn’t done. The next 25 years of his life were spent volunteering for VVMF, where he helped thousands of visitors locate loved ones’ names at The Wall. He spent his entire life serving his country and his community, and leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of service. Sid will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in November.

VVMF says thank you to all of our volunteers. We couldn’t preserve The Wall’s legacy without you!