KNX Hero of the Week DOV Cohen

Heather Jordan
December 19, 2019 - 11:41 am
KNX 1070 Handout

KNX 1070 Handout


The holiday season can be a difficult time of year for the hundreds of thousands of United States military veterans who spend it in V.A. hospitals.

Our KNX Hero of the Week has spent more than 50 years making sure some of those veterans have a little holiday cheer.  And that's just the beginning. 

Throughout the year, Chaplain DOV Cohen helps run a number of events across the Southland. He also has a few titles, including President of the Los Angeles National Cemetery Foundation.

"[It] supports the cemetery and all of it's functions," says Chaplain DOV. "I am also the State Chaplain for the Jewish War Veterans of California."

DOV is an acronym that stands for Directing Opportunities for Veterans. 

"When I entered the Air Force, right out of seminary, they had my name on the door," explains Chaplain DOV. "I took it down, turned it over and wrote DOV. Everyone stopped in to say 'what's that?' And, I said 'I direct opportunities to veterans.' And it stuck for 57 years."

Christmas is a special time for Chaplain DOV. He helps spread holiday cheer with the long-running program called Gifts for a Yank. 

"In 1946, Eddie Cantor, the entertainer, decided that Jews should do more than have Chinese food on Christmas Day," explains Chaplain DOV." So, he organized some friends, they got some gifts, and went to the V.A. Hospital in West Los Angeles."

"Last year, across the state, we distributed 20,000 gifts," says Chaplain DOV, about the Gifts For a Yank program. "And, we thanked the veterans who were hospitalized, for their service." 

On Christmas Day, Chaplain DOV dresses up as Santa Claus. "My lady, the Pink Lady, becomes Mrs. Claus, and wears red on that one day only. We meet at building #500 in West Los Angeles," explains Chaplain DOV. 

"It's a magnificent program. Everybody who is hospitalized in a state or federal military hospital - somebody from Gift For a Yank is going to come by and say 'thank you for your service.'" 

Many of the veterans have no families and very few visitors. So, the group gathers thousands of volunteers statewide, to pass out gifts and share stories. 

"American Legion. Veterans of Foreign Wars. It's not just the Jewish War Veteran program, but it is sponsored by the Jewish War Veterans of California."  

We are honoring Chaplain DOV Cohen as our KNX Hero of the Week, for his decades of service, and his passion to help veterans across California. 

"You can make a difference," says Chaplain DOV. "When people say 'what can I do, I'm only one person'... the answer is, you can do a whole lot."

KNX Heroes is presented by California Resources Corporation, saluting our military veterans, and all of our heroes! 

Nominate a KNX Hero of the Week by clicking

Heather Jordan, KNX 1070 News Radio.