Day will recognize, give information to veterans

Published 9:46 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

Selma Mayor George Evans, in partnership with the Veteran Experience Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will hold a Veterans Community Connection Day event on Oct. 14, from 2 to 6:30 p.m., at the Selma Convention Center, located at 211 Washington St.

The event will include a Salute to Vietnam Veterans from 2 – 2:30 p.m., who will be recognized as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War.

A Veterans Town Hall will follow from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., where leadership from the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, who manages the Selma VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic; and leadership from the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System; the Montevallo VA National Cemetery; the Montgomery Regional Office of the Veterans Benefits Administration; and the Alabama State Department of Veterans Affairs will give overviews of services to veterans and take questions.

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The final part of the event will include a Veterans Benefits Fair and Back to School Bash for veterans families from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

The fair will include booths for information on VA services from all the VA organizations, including the Alabama State Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as veterans service and other civic organizations that help veterans.

These organizations include the American Red Cross, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Military One Source, and many others.

The Back-to-School Bash will include giveaways and activities for children in veteran families, including visits from Sparky the Fire Dog.

In order to better serve these brave men and women who have worn the uniform we must build community awareness and support of veterans and service members in our area through events such as this,” Evans said.

Information regarding VA programs will include topics such as enrollment/eligibility, homeless programs, women’s programs, primary care, mental health care, suicide prevention, transition services for returning combat veterans, college veterans programs, claims assistance, burial benefits and much more. A team of VBA staff will be on hand to assist veterans with filing claims or checking on status of existing claims.  All veterans and their family members from Selma and the surrounding areas are encouraged to come learn about the benefits they have earned.

Veterans are encouraged to bring their DD-214, which is their military discharge, and any related documents if planning to enroll or file a claim for injury or illness related to military service.

“It is an honor to partner with Mayor Evans to facilitate awareness of benefits and resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations in the state to help inform veterans about services available to them through the Selma VA Clinic and other organizations to begin to foster local solutions to common challenges faced by transitioning service members, veterans and their families” said Paula Stokes, state relationship manager for US Department of Veterans Affairs.