Everyday, millions of hardworking Americans report to their places of duty all across the country, and these civil servants quietly work to make your lives better, safer, healthier, more productive. Today, we at the Veterans Benefits Administration want you to know who we are. We want you to know that many of us are you, and we want to share with you what it is we do and why we care.
Meet VBA’s Sheba Akridge.
Akridge is a Mississippi native, spouse to a Navy Veteran, and a current program analyst in the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Pension & Fiduciary Service (P&F) at VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. In July, she celebrated her 10th year of service to our nation’s Veterans.
It’s clear that, when talking to Akridge, she takes seriously her commitment to serving Veterans. Though she didn’t serve in the military, she comes from a military family, and she knows that the sacrifice some of her now-disabled family members made on behalf of America makes her job, for them, extremely important.
“My job is my way of saying ‘thank you,’” she said. “Throughout my career, what I had to remember is how tired the ones who served must have been, yet they still fulfilled the mission. Doing the same for them is my goal.”
As a program analyst, Akridge provides advice, makes policy recommendations, creates training procedures, writes quality reports, and serves as project lead on various pension or fiduciary projects. And, as one who believes actions speak louder than words, she also works with P&F’s outreach program to better serve Veterans in the VA community.
“Pension and Fiduciary Service is the department that assists Veterans and their beneficiaries who have limited income, or who are totally dependent on VA for financial support. In other words, our programs are need-based,” Akridge explained
Though she doesn’t always get to work directly with Veterans, there have been times when she fields calls from Veterans, or works with them on their cases.
“There’s one in particular that I’m proud to have helped. There was a lady who had been waiting on an appeal. I worked to complete her case by the end of the day. The lady called me back later that week to thank me. Her house was in foreclosure, she had no money, her car was broken. She was stuck, but because of my help, she was going to be okay.”
Akridge uses this story to illustrate a point about VA, and the people who work for VA: “We are grateful.
“We want our Veterans to know that, when you face a hardship, you are not alone. We are going through that hardship with you because we are family. Without You, there is no VA.”