Northport VA Medical Center
DAV Honors Northport VAMC Volunteers
On August 10, the Disabled American Veterans National Committee (DAV) will honor Northport VA Medical Center (VAMC) volunteers, Dennis Krulder and Max Freeman for their extraordinary devotion to disabled veterans.
Freeman, a recent graduate of Kings Park High School, is receiving the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship, a $20,000 college scholarship he will use at George Mason University starting next fall. Krulder will receive the George H. Seal Memorial Award, the highest honor given by the DAV, for his many years of significant contribution and service to veterans.
Dennis Krulder, a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran and former DAV State Commander, is well known throughout New York State’s veteran community and has been active in helping his fellow veterans since the 1970s.
“Dennis has been working to help veterans through the DAV for a very long time and has performed many different roles within that organization. He is best known, however, for the hugely successful DAV transportation network he runs here from Northport VAMC,” said Richard Kitson, Volunteer Service Officer at Northport VAMC and Suffolk County Commander of the Vietnam Veterans of America. “His program is being viewed as the model for every other VA facility in the country,” Kitson added.
Northport’s DAV transportation network provides rides to more than 1,000 veterans with travel hardships a week to VA outpatient appointments and DAV community access program events, which includes visits to parks, beaches, Broadway shows and restaurants. Krulder’s program has 30 vehicles, 100 drivers, and 30 other DAV volunteers, who logged 650,000 miles helping veterans last year.
In addition to running the biggest and most well organized DAV Transportation program in the country, Dennis is treasurer for the DAV New York State office.
Max Freeman started helping veterans as a requirement for his bar mitzvah, and, since then, has devoted more than 1,200 hours of his time volunteering at Northport.
“Max started volunteering here by helping veterans from the nursing home get to Shabbat services,” said Rabbi Paul Swerdlow, U.S. Army veteran and lead Chaplain at Northport VAMC. “He developed a deep respect for veterans through his volunteer work and has been dedicated to helping them ever since.”
As Freeman volunteered more often, he soon discovered that his other talents could be utilized in helping the veterans.
“Max is a trumpet and bugle player that has always made himself available to play “Taps” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” said Kitson. “We find him to be a valuable resource for special occasions including Patriot Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and our Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden ceremonies.”
Max also spends his summers working with the Office of Information and Technology showing veterans how to navigate the computer systems at Northport, as well as assisting in the repair of staff computers. Max has helped veterans apply for jobs through USAjobs.com, find affordable housing on the internet, and has reconnected them with friends and family via the web.
“Max has total commitment to our veterans,” said Rabbi Swerdlow with a proud smile.
Max Freeman and Dennis Krulder will receive their awards at the national convention in Orlando showing off the high caliber of volunteers at Northport VAMC.
Congratulations, Dennis and Max!