Veterans gather for education and VA updates June 27
July 7, 2023
Gila River Indian News
On Tuesday, June 27, the Veterans Family and Services Office (VFSO) hosted a Veterans Roundtable. The roundtable brings together veterans from all military branches to provide more visibility, education, and critical updates for Community veterans.
The roundtable, held in District 5, was the first roundtable after the pandemic and was a welcome reunion for veterans from all seven districts. These settings provide much-needed information for the Community veterans since many can’t regularly travel to Phoenix or Tucson for services and information.
During the program’s opening, Lt. Gov. Monica Antone shared remarks with the audience. “I want to express my gratitude towards the VFSO for providing resources to file claims. I observed their dedication to assisting Community Veterans at every level. And I am immensely grateful for the services offered to Veterans seeking mental health support,” said Lt. Gov. Antone.
During this time, Lt. Gov. Antone also acknowledged the veterans’ posts from the Community for their tireless dedication to representing GRIC. She also recognized their support for the services of a District 7 veteran who recently passed away.
“Today was all about education, and I think it was a very successful event,” said Eric White, VFSO coordinator. “Changes are constantly occurring at the VA, so to have representatives from the VA here, working with our veterans one-on-one is great, that way they get the answers they need from the VA and it’s programs directly.”
Several members of various VA programs attended to provide program updates, information on program services, and workshop presentations. Some of those programs included the Phoenix VA Health Care System Rural Health, Tucson VA Health Care Native American Veterans Advocate Program, VA Traditional Healing, and information on the PACT Act.
“I appreciate you all being here today to receive all the information we are providing here today,” said Michael Welsh, Deputy Medical Center Director, Phoenix VA Health Care. Mr. Welsh also attended the roundtable and welcomed everyone at the beginning of the program.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis also attended the roundtable and was pleased to see its return, in-person.
“It’s great to be back with you all in person and I hope you all took away something from this time together,” said Gov. Lewis in his closing remarks. “There was a time when we didn’t have a VFSO, so to see them plan this for you all is great and I want you all to visit the new office, because it’s your office and you deserve everything they have to offer, as veterans.”
As the Community can now hold public events, VFSO will work to keep roundtables on a consistent quarterly schedule in the future.
Additionally, VFSO plans to hold a Purple Heart event in August to celebrate GRIC officially being designated a Purple Heart Community in 2022.
Lastly, as mentioned previously, VFSO has a new office. The new VFSO office is located at 264 S. Bluebird Road in Sacaton. The staff extends a welcome to all veterans to come and learn more about the services they offer. For more information, stop in the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call 520-562-5148 or 520-562-5145.