Veterans get needed services

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dozens of veterans attended the launch of veterans’ services at the Suffolk Workforce Development Center on Tuesday.

Since the departure of the Virginia Employment Commission a year ago, veterans and their families have had to travel 25 miles or more to be seen by veteran representatives.

But the Suffolk workforce center has developed a collaboration with organizations and agencies that serve veterans and their families and plans to make veterans’ services a permanent part of the office.

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“You have a place you can come and be served,” said center coordinator Larry Brunson. “We want to make sure the veterans and families that are here know what services we have.”

Veterans and family members at the event heard presentations on the benefits and free services for which they are eligible as well as career help, housing assistance, academic opportunities and even heart health.

“Our whole purpose is to centralize the resources, to provide these resources here,” Brunson said.

Most of the partner organizations already provide these services, but some people don’t know about them or don’t know they are eligible for them, Brunson said.

Veterans and families already have benefited from Tuesday’s event, Brunson said. One veteran who has been retired for 30 years learned he might be eligible for benefits he’s never received, simply because someone once told him he wasn’t qualified and he took them at their word.

A veteran’s widow living in Holland stopped receiving benefits four years ago and learned at Tuesday’s event she probably should still be receiving them, Brunson said.

Caseworkers opened cases for both of them right at the event, he said.

Brunson hopes to have more such events, including some in North Suffolk and some evening sessions for the benefit of veterans who are not retired from working.

The Hampton University Office of Military Affairs plans to visit twice a month, and other organizations have plans for regular visits as well, Brunson said.

The center is located on the second floor at 157 N. Main St. Call 514-7740 for more information.