Volunteer puts service first at VA hospital

Posted at 9:59 AM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 11:59:09-05
What were you doing in 1979? 
7Everyday Hero Beatrice Montoya was just starting to volunteer. 
Back then she was 45-years old and still working full time, but that did not stop her from giving her time with the American Legion Auxiliary. 
"I came to the conclusion that if it weren't for all those veterans, no matter how they become veterans, we wouldn't have a free country," said Montoya. 
You can find Beatrice helping each week at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Denver. 
"She comes in and she will hand out hygiene kits," said Jack Fletcher Jr., Department of Veterans Affairs. 
"You give them to the newly admitted patient because some of those patients get brought in here with no toiletries," added Montoya. 
"She stands up for her veterans.  She really views them as her veterans and she wants to take care of them and do the very, very best for them," said Diane Erickson, American Legion Auxiliary, Dept. of Colorado President. 
Beatrice also demands the best from her fellow volunteers. 
When she spots another volunteer in the halls of the V.A. Hospital she asks them if they have their special volunteer coin in their pocket. 
The dollar sized coin reminds volunteers that they saved the V.A. more than 4-million dollars in 2014 alone. 
In fact, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers give 9-million hours of service each year. 
And at age 82, Beatrice Montoya is leading the way. 
"B. Montoya is just an absolute jewel," said Fletcher. 
"No matter what is going on that day a call from B is always a real welcome distraction," said Rhonda Larkowski, American Legion Auxiliary, Dept. of Colorado Secretary- Treasurer. 
To learn more about the American Legion Auxiliary go to
Mitch Jelniker anchors 7NEWS Now in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everday Hero here