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Miami VA Healthcare System

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Living, laughing and giving back

Brooklyn native brings smiles and respect to Broward County VA clinic

Brooklyn native brings smiles and respect to Broward County VA clinic

By Miami VA Voluntary Services
Monday, March 26, 2012

Rita Carness has only been volunteering at the Broward VA Outpatient Clinic for two years, but in a short time has already contributed more than 800 hours and received numerous accolades from patients.  Described as “extremely courteous”, “wonderful, helpful, and very respectful”, many have said that dealing with Rita has “made their day” while working at the clinic’s front desk checking ID’s and providing helpful information to Veterans.

Before joining our team of volunteers, Rita was a life enrichment counselor and coach. She would conduct seminars on cruise ships, enabling her to travel the world including much of the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Her favorite ports of call include St. Thomas and Bermuda, which she likes for their wonderful people and gorgeous landscapes. The classes helped participants improve their lives by “Living, Loving and Laughing”; the name of her seminar. 

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Rita raised five children and is an active participant in her community playing cards, attending luncheons and dinner parties, and is active in the City of Hope, which helps cancer patients.  

“I’m doing all the things you dream about when you’re young, but don’t have time to do,” she said.

Rita claims her favorite thing about volunteering at the clinic is “being able to give a smile to the Veterans… It enriches my life, coming in and being able to help these people.” She also loves the people she works with, calling them her “extended family,” and plans to volunteer at the clinic indefinitely. For us, that’s terrific news -- because as one happy patient pointed out in a customer comment card, “she’s a keeper.” We couldn’t agree more.

Thank You Rita!

For more information about how to become a volunteer at the Miami VA Healthcare System, visit:


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