The Pee Dee Area Veterans Advisory Council (PDAVAC) Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB) hosted its monthly public engagement forum followed by a statewide summit of all four community Veterans engagement boards (CVEBs) in South Carolina at the Florence County Department of Veterans Services.
“For a long time VA didn’t come into the community, but in recent years VA has made a major effort to engage and partner with those of us on the ground and that mutual partnership has made a significant, positive impact in our communities.” – Chief Randy Godbold (USN, ret.), Director of Florence County Veterans Services
The featured discussion for this meeting was presented by CapTel, a no-cost captioned telephonic device available to individuals with hearing loss. CapTel operates as a standard telephone with an added feature of transcribing everything the other party says into readable text. With a high percentage of Veterans suffering hearing loss this free program can serve as one tool to improve individual quality of life. Veterans applying for CapTel can have their representing VSO confirm their hearing loss in the application.
Six Vietnam Veterans were recognized for their service and sacrifice with a wreath presentation and all participants received Vietnam remembrance lapel pins by staff from VA’s Florence National Cemetery.
The Veterans Experience Office distributed 255 VA Welcome Kits to three County VSO Directors, traditional VSOs, and CVEB leaders to provide to Veterans they serve. VEO was also able to interview eight individual Veterans to gain direct input into the development of customer guides specific to VA Service for Veterans 65 years and older to be included in future VA Welcome Kits.
Directly following the regular monthly meeting, representatives from all four CVEBs in South Carolina, along with leadership from the Columbia and Charleston VA Medical Centers and Columbia Regional Office, came together to begin a collective action effort to improve federal policy implementation for Veterans and military families. This collaborative partnership between communities and leading VA service providers is serving to develop an action plans targeting four areas; Suicide Prevention, Benefits Delivery, Transition, and Informed Veteran Decision Making.
Through the voluntary leadership of PDAVAC, the Upstate Veterans Alliance Network (UVAN), the Midlands Veterans Engagement Council (MVEC), and the Lowcountry Veterans Engagement Team (LVET) South Carolina CVEBs communities are able to leverage one another to take positive action in service to our Veterans, Families, Caregivers, and Survivors.
*Blog written by Doug Webb of the Veterans Experience Office