Area veterans learn of services and opportunities at conference

February 6, 2013 • Local News

Representatives from various local, state and national agencies offered area veterans information about available services and opportunities Wednesday during a veteran outreach event at Roswell Convention Center.

Organizer Greg Neal said there are a lot of veterans who don’t know all the resources available to them from both the government and private industry, so it was important to have a mix of them available.

Local organizations, as well as others, such as the New Mexico Department of Veteran’s Services, the New Mexico VA Health Care System and the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Rural Health were available to give information about veterans’ healthcare and benefits, the National Cemetary and employment opportunities.

Tina Fischer, an HR generalist for Leprino Foods, was there to [auth] tell veterans about jobs available at the company, which she said already has a lot of veterans working for it in various positions.

“We find the military is a good resource, with good workers who have a good work ethic,” she said.

My HealtheVet Coordinator Jennie Taylor came to inform about the program, a free, online tool for veterans that allows them access to their medical records and to monitor their health care services. It also offers a secure messaging system that allows users to contact healthcare teams that they’re familiar with.

“The whole idea is that we’re helping patients to take charge of their health,” she said.

Wendy Clark, representing Community Relations and Volunteer Services of Lovelace Regional Hospital-Roswell, provided health information to veterans and told them about the hospital’s Silver Elite program, which provides social and educational events for senior citizens.

“We’re just wanting to be here for the community, veterans in particular,” she said.

The mobile unit of the Las Cruces Vet Center idled outside the convention center, providing information about its services, such as re-adjustment counseling for combat veterans and their family members and treatment for veterans who have experienced head trauma or sexual trauma.

Sam Robert Jones Jr., a re-adjustment counselor technician for the unit and an army veteran of the Gulf War, said the unit visits rural areas of southern New Mexico in an effort to bring the center to veterans who may not be able to travel.

The event was well-attended by both veterans and their family members.

Daina Blount attended with her husband Kenneth and son, David. “It’s really nice that somebody went through the trouble to have this event,” she said, noting that a lot of good information had been provided.

Joan Hall, who attended with her husband, Jim, also found the event informational, but also gave them the opportunity to act. She said she collected a lot of the applications and contact information for following up.

“Usually we don’t know where to go,” she said. “But the nice thing about a fair like this is, all the things we’ve heard about, we get to actually see and learn more about.”

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