Who we are: VBA employee Heather Osborne continues to serve to improve the quality of life for her fellow Veterans


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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 in 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 Heather Osborne, the Veterans Benefits Administration’s lead contracting analyst in the Benefits Assistance Service, where she manages contracts that provide and bridge critical services for Veterans.

Working contracts for VBA is just the latest career progression for the service-connected disabled Marine Corps Veteran. At VA, Osborne has worked as a claims rater, a change management agent and a Veteran Service Organization liaison.

“There is always an opportunity to learn [at VA],” Osborne said. “Throughout my ten years, there has always been a chance for change and growth.”

To better understand the context of her growth, Osborne says, one must consider where she started. The Yonkers, New York native had a rough upbringing, the “textbook example” of poverty and family dysfunction. It’s why, as a teen, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after an encouraging encounter she had at a Memorial Day parade when she was young.

That’s when the seed for service was planted. Serving her country, she felt, would allow her to get out of her situation — if she was strong.

“We were poor,” she said. “We had no money and there was no way [out].”

Osborne was strong. She enlisted as a 3051 (supply) during the Gulf War era, and served with the 3rd FSSG in Okinawa, Japan.

“I completely fell in love with the culture and rigidity of [USMC] family structure,” she said. “It was such an opposite of what I experienced as a child.”

After her service, Heather used the GI Bill and VBA’s Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VRE) program to earn a bachelor of science in community and human services. This, she felt, would allow her to continue serving, preferably where she could wear her Veteran status with pride.

“The Corps was my saving grace as a teen and it was my way out, my way off the streets. Every decision I made in life was based off that. But later on, I joined VA because I wanted to help Veterans and wanted to impact their quality of life,” she said. “I felt that if I became a rating specialist, I could change lives one case at a time. I joined the VA ranks in 2007 and I have been kicking butts and taking names ever since.”

Oorah, Heather. Semper fi.

Author

Jason Davis

Jason Davis served five years in the 101st ABN, including two combat tours to Iraq. Nowadays, he’s social media administrator for the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Comments

  1. Henry L Berchak    

    Good eyewash….make everything look wonderful. What has been done to rid the ranks of the many slackers and even employees who show preferential treatment to one race over another for services and appointments? Seldom if ever hear of anyone disciplined or fired!

  2. Shawn T Donald    

    going on 4 yrs still waiting for a VBA call to schedule a hearing. Im guessing don’t want to pay me back pay of up to 200k for my back issue.

  3. Jimmy Harris    

    Good morning Mrs. Heather Osborne, my name is Mr. Jimmy Harris. ..I am concerned that none-prior service people, VA contactors (C & P) examers to make vital decisions are disheartening. Because they have a tendency to deny many disabled veterans their well deserved benefits!!! I have been waiting four years to get an appeal decision. Could you please ensure that I get fair consideration toward getting benefits for my worsening PTSD and other medical conditions…Thanks you Mrs. Osborne in advance for understanding my concerns!

  4. Keith Gentry Sr    

    I just like to say thank you for your tireless work with our veterans. Keith Gentry Sr

  5. Nokuthula Lucia Sithole    

    I heard you but what if the persons not come what should you do go without said someone go Nigeria other in KZN tell them you must come back said i will be back on the 15 we must wait for her to get back simple they do not serious I’m from far with this Organization i feel pain as like they must tell me what to do i will replace their name to other people who real serious ,if they do not get back to me this weekend they will by by by to life .

  6. Robert L.gebo    

    Who must I contact to get a new ID card? 4 years Naval service Korean war period and 3 years Active Army reserve.1952 to 1955 472nd Aviation Engineering Battalion.

  7. Tyra L O'Bryant    

    I have been fighting with a VA claim decision for benefits, since Jan. 2003. I have had a traveling board hearing for my back injury. Case was open for awhile, then a final unfavorable decision was made. Also, I have a claim in for PTSD. I need your assistance.

  8. Linda C. Anderson    

    Help Ms. Osborne,
    I submitted a DIC intent to file in June 2016 and submitted my claim in June 2017 after researching hundreds of hours, submitted everything about my deceased husband who served from 1971- 1975 aboard nuclear subs. He was in excellent health. I call the 1 800 every couple of months and is told they can’t find my husband’s heath records from the Navy. He died from renal cell cancer that showed evidence of asbestos. It takes up to to 45 years for aasbestos diseases in a person exposed to show up. His showed up 40 years later. He was an accountant and was never around asbestos after service. His title was IC technician rated as probable for asbestos. Subs were made of asbestos prior to the mid 70’s. What happens if they never find his health records? We had been married 37 years when he died. I have Neer received any correspondence and the last 2 ties I called the person othe phone was rude to me. I am alone. Would it help to visit my regional VA center? Thank you, Linda Anderson

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