Services and issues highlight of upcoming VA events

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AMERICA’S HEROES GROUP partner, Veteran Benefits Administration Chicago Regional Office Executive Director Hughes S. Turner, and Public Affairs Officer and Management Analyst Walter Weathers share a light moment with Cliff Kelley, Vietnam veteran and host.

Veteran Benefits Administration Chicago Regional Office Executive Director Hughes S. Turner was a panelist along with Public Affairs Officer Walter D. Weathers on the America’s Heroes Group radio talk show on Saturday June 8. The pair discussed the Quad Cities Veteran Benefits Administration’s “Independence Day Challenge,” the Veterans Experience Action Center and PTSD Awareness Month.

The “Independence Day Challenge” is the Veteran Benefits Administration’s (VBA) push to finalize 255,000 rating claims between May 6 and June 30.

Completing such an enormous number of cases in such a short time period will be historic for the agency as it has never been done before. Director Turner explained how several years ago this challenge was unimaginable, as the agency had a backlog of nearly 750,000 claims. Weathers confirmed that “we are 6,000 claims ahead of schedule.”

Later in the show Weathers and Turner addressed the Quad Cities Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC). The VEAC event is an outreach program that will take place at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa on July 19 and 20. The event will begin each day at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Any veteran inside the building at 3 p.m. will be assisted.

The VEAC is a collaborative effort between several private organizations, Veteran Action Centers, the Department of Veteran Affairs and various community partners. The Quad Cities VEAC outreach event was born after the same type of event was successful in both North Carolina and Northeast Ohio. In Northeast Ohio between 800 and 900 veterans were seen. In North Carolina, nearly 500 Veterans were seen. Additionally, a number of veterans were bussed to the North Carolina event from other states.

The Veterans Experience Action Center team has collaborated to build an outreach event that will provide a variety of resources to assist veterans and their dependents.

Some services that will be offered at the Quad Cities event include: conducting wellness exams, making decisions on VBA compensation claims, and on-site enrollment in VA healthcare benefits; social services, including caregiver support and home health care, mental health counseling and opioid safety education; homeless, low-income housing, vocational support service, and more. All veterans in the Quad Cities area are encouraged to attend and take advantage of the resources that will be available.

June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness month. Panelists presented an informative discussion about the importance of PTSD awareness for veterans. Director Turner shared his story of working through his issues with PTSD and how getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself and family.

If you know someone, or if you need assistance, seek assistance via the VA Medical Centers or a reputable private entity.

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