The National Cemetery Administration’s Mobile Veteran Outreach Vehicle toured Florida recently in an effort to educate Veterans and their families on VA Memorial Benefits. The NCA outreach team took their campaign to the South Florida and Florida State Fairs in February and partnered with the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates during Major League Baseball’s Spring Training in March, to reach Veterans on their terms. Staff and volunteers representing South Florida, Cape Canaveral, Bay Pines, Tallahassee, and Florida National Cemeteries helped to support the events along with VA Central Office staff.
Veterans, family and community members were able to learn about VA Memorial Benefits and have their questions answered. The outreach teams were instrumental in helping Veterans and their loved ones throughout the tour. Luis Enrique Albarracin of Florida National Cemetery said, “the fair was an experience in itself and gave me great reward and pride in assisting our country’s Veterans. I was able to assist over 400 individuals and families by providing awareness of their Veteran benefits and assuring them that their needs would be taken care of.” Albarracin also noted learning himself during the fairs, saying “I learned history and stories from our World War II veterans, as well as our Vietnam Veterans, that I will cherish for a lifetime.”
Sarasota and Florida National Cemetery attended the eight spring training events helping to increase awareness among the New York and Pennsylvania team fans. A total of 1,155 veterans or family members stopped at the outreach displays to get more information and more than 60,000 were exposed to NCA while at the game. The Mobile Outreach Vehicle will continue to tour Florida, traversing between coasts, to promote the six open national cemeteries in Florida and the two new national cemeteries currently under construction (Tallahassee and Cape Canaveral). Tallahassee National Cemetery’s dedication is scheduled for May 22.