You are invited to the second annual Veteran Resource Event on Friday, March 9 in the Campus Union Ballroom at Eastern New Mexico University from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Over 40 agencies will be at the event, which is free and open to the public.
Event organizer Gretchen Leigh, the executive secretary to the Chief Information Officer at ENMU and a veteran herself, discusses the benefits of attending the Veteran Resource Event. "If you are a Veteran or you know a Veteran, it's important to know what benefits the VA offers. The VA doesn't advertise benefits. You have to know where to look, what to look for, etc. It's almost impossible to keep up with all of the new changes without an event such as this where you have all this information available."
Attendees can find out about health benefits, education benefits, finding employment, pensions for wartime veterans, veterans groups and how to overcome the struggle to fit back in.
Health benefits will be discussed by VA Hospitals from Amarillo, Albuquerque and El Paso, the Portales Public Health Department, Roosevelt General Hospital, Tactile Medical, New Mexico Rehabilitation Center, Mobile Veteran Center for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Heroes with Hearing Loss.
Eventgoers can learn about education benefits from Cannon Air Force Base Force Development, ENMU and Clovis Community College Certifying Officials, the New Mexico Department of Veteran's Services Education Program Manager, ENMU Enrollment Services and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Agencies covering employment benefits include New Mexico Workforce Connections, Cannon AFB Civilian Personnel Office, Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Veteran's Services Veteran Business Advisor, New Mexico State Police Headquarters and the Farmers Insurance District Office.
The Veteran Service Officers for the Curry/Roosevelt area and the Hobbs area will discuss pensions for wartime veterans.
Questions about overcoming the struggle to fit back in will be covered by the El Paso Veterans Center (mobile RV), United Way of Eastern New Mexico, Goodwill Industries and the VA hospitals from Albuquerque, El Paso and Amarillo.
There will also be access to veterans groups, including AMVETS, American Legion and VFW and the ENMU Student Veteran Organization.
Many other organizations and agencies will also be in attendance.
According to Gretchen, there will be a "lot of giveaways, including first aid kits, t-shirts, pens, notepads, hand sanitizers, flags, squeeze balls and bandanas. Door prizes will include a gift basket and gift cards."
Gretchen created the first Veteran Resource event last year when she realized that the combined counties of Roosevelt, Curry and Chaves (specifically the northern area) have the "largest concentration of Veterans in the state, and a large majority of them do not know what benefits they have from their military service." Last year's event has 52 different organizations and approximately 150 Veterans and/or their family members attend.
"This year's event features some new agencies and will focus on new policies the VA is working on that will affect veterans," explained Gretchen. "I can assure everyone that they will be able to leave with some type of new information to help them or a Veteran they know.
"ENMU has always been supportive and diligent in their stewardship to the citizens of Portales and the surrounding communities," said Gretchen. "If the Greyhound community can help Veterans or their families, Dr. Jeff Elwell [ENMU President] supports making this happen."