With nearly 17,824 hours of voluntary service to his name, Robert J. Cheseborough has made himself a familiar face around the San Diego VA Medical Center in the last sixteen years. At any point in the day, he can be found around the departments, tirelessly helping patients and employees alike.
Thanks to his service, Robert will be recognized this year with the highest honor- the 17,500 hour award at the annual Voluntary Service Awards and Recognition Ceremony on April 17. Like its name suggests, the award recognizes volunteers who have committed over 17,000 hours of service with VA San Diego Healthcare System.
Cheseborough, a Marine Corps Veteran, first came to San Diego in Aug. 1996 to alleviate injuries sustained during his military service. It was during this time that he began volunteering at the San Diego VA Medical Center with the promise of continuing to help other injured Veterans. Robert had nearly five years prior experience volunteering at the VA Healthcare System in New Jersey.
“I’m disabled, but I always see Veterans coming back from combat with really bad injuries,” he said. “It always makes me feel better to be able to do little things for them. Get them coffee, bring flowers; anything to make their day a little brighter.”
Today, Cheseborough can be found helping with various tasks from cleaning up the spinal cord injury gym to buying supplies at Costco.
“When it comes to volunteering, there is no better go-to-guy than Robert,” said Nonnie-Lii Artero, Voluntary Service Specialist at VASDHS. “He will even come in over the weekend if we need him.”
Cheseborough also cherishes the relationships he’s made over the years at the medical center. According to him, it’s one of the greatest reasons for volunteering.
“I’m not entirely sure what I would be doing if it wasn’t for my friends and my service here at the San Diego VA Medical Center,” he said. “I’d probably be sitting at home watching television all the time.”