First veteran’s town hall to be held Friday

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Vicksburg is home to many United States military veterans, and often those veterans travel in order to interact with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thanks to the G.V. Montgomery VA Medical Center, the VA is coming to Vicksburg for its first local veterans town hall meeting.

The meeting will be held Friday, Aug. 5 in first floor classrooms A through D at Merit Health River Region Medical Center from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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“We wanted to have a town hall in the (Vicksburg) area to reach the veterans who are enrolled in our facility so that if they have any concerns or questions, they can come speak with the director of the medical center,” public affairs officer Susan Varcie said.

After U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs began holding quarterly town hall meetings across the country, administrators at the Montgomery VA Medical Center wanted to find a way to reach veterans outside the metro Jackson area, Varcie said.

“We realized that not all veterans could make it to Jackson for these town halls,” she said. “We have such a large rural area, each month—in addition to the quarterly town halls we have at the medical center—we started scheduling them out in the community.”

Those attending Vicksburg’s town hall will be able to meet with the director of the medical center and a representative from the Veteran’s Benefits Administration to discuss issues and ask questions, Varcie said.

“The meeting provides an opportunity to build and strengthen VA’s commitment to ensuring veterans, families and other beneficiaries have the opportunity to share their experiences and have their health care concerns addressed by senior leadership,” a press release said.

These questions can be addressed publicly or in a private meeting if privacy is an issue, Varcie added.

In addition to serving as a forum, Varcie said the event serves another purpose, for which the center’s mobile health unit will be on hand.

“It’s also an outreach event for veterans who are not enrolled at a VA healthcare center or are not receiving benefits or are not sure what they are entitled to. They can come and find all of that information out as well,” she said. “They may not need it now but in the future they may need it.

“If they get enrolled now, if something happens and they do need it, that process is already done.”