December Badger Legionnaire Digital Extra
Post and Unit No. 236 in Algoma reach 100%
Members at both the Post and Unit No. 236 in Algoma have worked diligently at getting to 100% of their 2016 Membership Goal. They reached the milestone by August 25th. The Post was also the first
Nellie P. De Baker
Appleton American Legion Post 38 honored their members with
Overall the week of Veteran's Day was a great week to reach out to veterans and the community. Post 38 participated in 9 community
Post 38 hopes that everyone had a wonderful Veteran's Day and we
ATTENTION: County Commanders – win a trip to the Lincoln Pilgrimage!
The 82nd Annual American Legion Pilgrimage to the Tomb of
All County Commanders who achieve 100% of their 2016
The winner will receive a trip to the American Legion Pilgrimage
County Commanders must achieve 100% of their 2016 Membership
Minneapolis VA Hosts Town Hall in Rice Lake; Veterans Air Frustrations, Praise VA Staff
Submitted by Post No. 87 Commander Bill Coleman, originally published in the October 2015 issue of “On the Beat,” the monthly newsletter published for patients, employees, volunteers and friends of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. Reprinted with permission.
The meeting room in the back of the Rice Lake (WI) Veterans Center was packed on September 30 for the fifth VA Town Hall hosted by Minneapolis VA Health Care System in the past year.
About 35 Veterans and several spouses attended. Four county veteran service officers – Renee Brown of Sawyer County, Mike Haley of Chippewa Valley, Lisa Powers of Washburn County and Philip Landroff of Barron County, and Jesse Garza, aide to Representative Sean Duffy, were also present.
The 90 minute meeting began with Rice Lake American Legion Commander Bill Coleman leading the group in the Pledge of Alllegiance.
Attending from the Minneapolis VA were Chief of Staff Kent Crossley, MD, Associate Director Kurt Thielen, Chief Experience Officer David Miller, Nurse Executive Helen Pearlman, and CBOC medical director Clyde Markon, MD.
Rice Lake Clinic staff Dr. Srinivas Chetty and Nurse Manager Elizabeth Boissy also attended.
The majority of Veterans’ comments focused on difficulties with the Veterans Choice Program. Veterans shared stories of spending hours on the phone trying to get appointments. Others said that private Community clinics do not want to work with VA because the Choice Program is frustrating and complicated.
VA leaders acknowledged the program, which is administered by a third-party, has problems, many of which are out of the control of the Minneapolis VA. CVSOs said they would like training on Choice so they can help Veterans in their communities.
Another topic of discussion was the inability of Veterans to call directly into clinics to talk with their providers. VA staff explained that the central Call Center had nurses available 24/7 to respond to questions. Dr. Markon noted that when he is practicing in clinic, it is difficult to break away from a patient to answer an outside phone clal.
VA leaders remained after the Town Hall to respond to individual situations of patients.
There was some good news for the future of Rice Lake Clinic. Long range plans call for the clinic to offer audiology and other specialty services. A proposal has been submitted to VA Central Office in Washington. No timeline is set, according to Dr. Markon, but he indicated that the goal is to add services in FY2017.
CVSOs and several veterans praised the care they receive at the Rice Lake and Hayward community clinics.
VA Secretary Bob McDonald initiated the nationwide town halls at all VA medical centers in September 2014 as a way to gather feedback from veterans and their families.
Butler named Wisconsin Veteran Advocate of the Year
~ Originally published in The Inter-County Leader and the Burnett Sentinel – story submitted to the press by the Wisconsin County Veteran Service Organization
Jeff Butler, Frederic, was recently honored with the County Veterans Service Officer Association of Wisconsin Veteran Advocate of the Year Award.
Butler, A US Army veteran, commander of American Legion Post No. 249 and river interpreter with the National Park Service – St. Croix Scenic Riverway Trego office, was nominated for the award by several county veteran service officers in Northwest Wisconsin including Doug Stubbe, Burnett County; Kevin Johnson, Bayfield County; David Till, Pierce County; Lisa Powers, Washburn County; and Renee Brown, Sawyer County. Those nominated for the award must provide, or have provided, outstanding service to veterans and their families and have demonstrated a high degree of compassion for their constituents. Butler was nominated for this award for his selfless service to veterans by utilizing the outdoors to promote healing and wellness for veterans.
Butler has set up activities such as camping, fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking and honor cruises for over 500 veterans and their families. His partners include county veteran service officers, UW campus veteran groups, MACV in Minnesota, The St. Croix River Association, Rivers of Recovery and local businesses. He also organized several retreats. Butler humbles himself in the presence of other veterans, never asks for anything in return and directs attention and credit to his partners. His driving force is his sincerity and passion for what he does for those who served.
The impact Butler has made for veterans is echoed in a statement from Norb Laufenberg, VA counselor at the LaCrosse Vet Center, to Butler’s supervisor at the National Park Service as follows:
“Jeff may not be aware of the impact his activities are having on veterans, but truly as a mental-health provider, I am amazed. I have seen a marked improvement in social skills and an increased interest and participation in recreational activities. The program for veterans on the river has ignited an interest in our veterans that was not there before and had been encouraged for years. Jeff’s commitment to our veterans has changed their lives and improved their quality of living.”
Butler was presented his award at the County Veterans Service Organization Association of Wisconsin fall banquet held Thursday, October 8, in Baraboo.