VISN 11 and VISN 12, in cooperation with the Iron Mountain VAMC, the Battle Creek VAMC, and the Aleda E Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, recently held the second Tribal Veteran Representative Training in Michigan to promote the concept of having a Native American TVR in federally recognized tribes throughout Michigan. The role of a TVR is to assist Veterans in understanding what benefits they have access to.
The training was held at the Clare/Farwell American Legion Post 558 , and was facilitated by W.J. ‘Buck’ Richardson, Minority Veterans Outreach Coordinator, VA Rocky Mountain Healthcare (VISN 19) Denver, CO. There were 15 participants, comprised of members from the Bay Mills Indian Community, Lac Vieux Desert Tribe, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa, Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi-Gun Lake Tribe, the Sault Tribe of the Chippewa Indians and American Legion Post 558, who attended the training to learn how to be a liaison between tribal Veterans, family members and the VA.
Representatives from the Veterans Health Administration, American Legion Service Organization and the Office or Rural Health presented information on specific benefits from each of the agencies. Attendees representing VISN 11 included Dr. Skupien, Wendy Hamlin, Dondeena Hammond, Jannette Shaw, Mick Hornev, Yvonne Stark, Amy Pennington and Lisa Eurick. VISN 12 attendee was Mary Kay Campbell, VISN 12 RH Consultant.
These newly TVRs are preparing to host outreach events to Native American Veteran and the Veterans in their communities. TVRs are providing articles for their respective tribal newspapers and building partnerships with local service organizations to further assist Veterans with understanding and obtaining VA benefits. VISN 11 plans to host another TVR training event in the spring of 2014.