For 34 years, the Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE) have honored exceptional volunteer efforts that provide distinguished service to hospitals, patients and communities. Earlier today we announced our 2017 award recipients, who will be recognized May 8 at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Today’s announcement brings the number of HAVE Award winners over the years to 161. In the program’s early years, we recognized an award winner from each of the AHA’s nine regions. To make the program more competitive, we decided some years ago to select one winner for each of our four categories: community service programs, in-service hospital volunteer programs, fund raising programs and community outreach/collaboration.

This year’s winners include a free expressive arts bereavement camp for grieving children, teens and families; a poison prevention program for young children; a Friends of the Heart Institute that raises financial support for a full range of hospital-based cardiac programs and services; and an elder life program that keeps seniors engaged and as comfortable as possible during their hospital stay.

The winners share a key criteria: volunteer programs that, as a result of creativity, innovation and leadership, help improve people’s quality of live and bolster the hospital’s standing in the community.

The awards are our way of saying thanks to the people who give these initiatives their heart and strength.   

We thank our hospital volunteers … and we thank the hospitals who nominated them for recognizing the enormous value they bring to their hospitals and communities.