A serving heart

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Story by Crystal Vandegrift

Anyone who knows Sarah Maddox Dunn knows the serving heart she has, but she is also very humble. In fact, getting Dunn to talk about herself is no easy task.

Dunn, a native of Farmville, co-founded the Piedmont Area Veterans Council and Community Resources (PAVC) four years ago after having co-founded the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council (LAVC) in 2013 with Otto Davis, who also served on the PAVC’s board of directors.

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The PAVC helps veterans and their family members/caregivers and those affiliated with the military connect with local and national nonprofits to fill a wide range of needs.

“Our primary focus is on veterans,” Dunn said. “There are a lot of organizations with a lot of benefits available, but veterans don’t know they have access to them. There are so many local organizations with good intentions, but there are so (many) more out there we can complement.”

Dunn is a veteran herself, having served in the Army; her husband, Ed, is a Navy veteran. Dunn lived and worked in North Carolina for many years, having served as a recovery care coordinator for the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East at Camp LeJeune from 2008-2013. Before that, she was employed with the Military Order of the Purple Heart as an Accredited veteran service officer, also at Camp LeJeune.

When she returned to the area, Dunn recognized there were needs for programs/services in the area and surrounding counties for veterans and their families/caregivers.

“We have amazing veteran organizations, so it made sense to complement what was already in place so we could offer a comprehensive approach to helping veterans, their family members and caregivers,” Dunn said.

On any given week, you can find Dunn volunteering her time, spending upwards of 12 hours a day helping veterans, never seeking credit.

“I give all the credit to my team of volunteers,” Dunn said. “This is not about me. My passion is knowing that my work can make a difference in some small way. I am blessed that I have worked in a lifelong career that has allowed me to do this for many, many years.”

Dunn added that the PAVC might have a small office, but it has a very effective volunteer staff.

“I am blessed to work every day with some great volunteers who believe in the mission of our organization and helping our military families.”

The PAVC serves veterans in Appomattox, Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties.