Delivering coffee, comfort, companionship and conversation to his fellow comrades in arms is the ongoing mission of 85-year-old retired Master Sergeant Emanuel Poston. The Korean and Vietnam War veteran has carried out his mission so well the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia honored Poston Wednesday with its top volunteer award. Poston began his volunteer work at the facility in 1984. 25 years later, Poston has logged an overall record of 17,135 volunteer hours. Poston says he sincerely hopes that through his volunteer work he has given as much to his fellow veterans as they have given him over the years. “Sometimes I would feel bad myself and go up on the ward and see a guy, a double amputee, and he would be smiling and I would have a frown on my face. Then I think, that double amputee is smiling and here I am with a frown on my face now I’ve got to go get a smile on my face.”
A native of Lincolnton, NC, Poston was the first African American to serve as Commander of the South Carolina Disabled American Veterans organization from 1992-1995.
Poston works two days a week at the Disabled American Veterans office located in the Dorn VA Medical Center. He works assisting veterans and delivering welcome packets to new patients. Poston says he has no secret “fountain of youth,” he simply keeps active. “I think it comes from exercising and keeping yourself busy, rather than feeling sorry for yourself. Keep busy, that way you wouldn’t be thinking about yourself.”
Poston turned 85 on March 15. He says he still feels well enough to continue his mission of volunteerism.