NewsPositively Montana


Great Falls VA volunteer recognized for service and attitude

VA volunteer Dennis Burns
Posted at 10:14 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 12:14:48-04

Dennis Burns, a volunteer at the VA clinic in Great Falls, takes the idea of making someone's day and has turned it into his personal mission.

“You go to a doctor's office and it's so boring, and that's what I do, I cheer people up,” said Burns.

His effort aren't just appreciated by patients and visitors - his co-workers value his attitude, too.

“He is so great, he always has a smile on his face and he is always there to ask you how you're doing,” said Kristal Richards, a nurse manager.

Burns is 75 years old - but that's just a number. He likes to say, “If you think young, you act young!” and his mentality is certainly keeping him young.

Burns wasn’t always this outgoing. In fact, during his first few months in Great Falls, he wanted nothing to do with human interaction. He came to Montana following his evacuation in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina.

“I wanted to get as far away from hurricanes as possible,” he explained. “The things I saw down there were too traumatic, I guess you could say it was a sense of stress that I had.”

Poster image.jpg

After battling through those experiences he was diagnosed with cancer, suffered through an aneurysm, and had half of a lung removed - yet Burns somehow finds a way to shine.

“I love doing this more than anything,” Burns said with a huge smile.

Burns' good cheer helped earn him the “Volunteer of the Year” award at the VA’s one-year anniversary celebration last week.

Positively Montana