On Sept. 6, Northern Arizona VA Health Care System held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Access 65 VA Channel. A project that has been in the works for two years, Public Affairs Officer Mary Dillinger worked tirelessly to make this unique project come to fruition.
“This project will benefit all of our Veterans in the area and as an Army Veteran and VA employee, I am proud to be part of it”, she said.
Prescott Chamber of Commerce, the City of Prescott and local Veterans service organizations have partnered with the health care system to see that Access 65 VA Channel came about at no cost to VA. Filming of local programs will be done at the Prescott Media Center, and Arizona-based CableOne has provided them with a free public access channel.
The channel will include Veteran support services, Veteran-to-Veteran communication through success stories, information about PTSD, Women Veterans, suicide prevention and employment.
“Pretty much everything Veterans need to know about services, events and programs in the community can be found on our new cable channel,” said Dillinger. It will include Veterans Views and News videos (locally produced), new Veteran Orientation video as well as live streaming of Veteran events like their upcoming POW event on Sept. 21, which will serve as the soft opening and trial run for the channel.
Access 65 VA Channel is set to go live with an official opening on Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. highlighting the 2018 Yavapai County Stand Down. Dillinger is working on local programming and has interviews with subject matter experts, including the director of the Prescott Vet Center, already set to broadcast.
“This channel is the first of its kind that I am aware of and it will hopefully grow over the years,” said Dillinger. For now, the channel will broadcast Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., throughout Yavapai County which covers Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, Jerome, Clarkdale, Sedona, Chino Valley, Verde Valley and Cottonwood.
“Yavapai County has a large Veteran population and it is great there will now be a channel designed specifically for Veterans in this area,” said Barbara Oemcke, NAVAHCS Medical Center director. “We are always looking at ways to better reach Veterans, and a cable channel focused solely on Veteran programming is a perfect solution.”
About the author: Lana Shuman is a public affairs officer with VA’s regional public affairs office in Dallas Texas serving Veterans in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.