Veterans Voice Concerns, Get Answers at Local Town Hall Meeting
Local veterans had a chance to voice their concerns and ask questions at a veterans town hall meeting sponsored by Congressman Mark Amodei on Tuesday. There was also discussion about proposed cuts to military benefits that could affect retired and active duty men and women. "Veterans benefits have eroded over time. It seems like every time Congress feels tight on money, the first place they come is DOD and veterans benefits," said Jeanette Rae, who served in the Air Force for more than 20 years.
Coert Scoggin is a retired Air Force pilot who left active duty eight years ago. "I served in every conflict between 1986 to 2006, he said. Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Kosovo, Afghanistan; pretty much all of those," Scoggin added. He's concerned about cuts to the military healthcare system known as Tricare. I think it's a disservice to those who served the nation and the world to not get what they were offered and promised, Scoggin explained.
Tracy Soliday, who works in Congressman Amodei's office, says the meetings allow the congressman to keep in touch with the local community. He goes all over his district every three to four months to speak to veterans and find out what they're concerned about and what he can do to help," she said. A representative of Senator Dean Heller's office also attended.
Several of the questions had to do with medical care at the local Veterans Affairs hospital. Three representatives attended the meeting to help with individual cases. One veteran said the VA is doing a good job in northern Nevada, but he would like to have one point of contact to receive medical benefits. "Vets need to know the whole system is looking out for them. They don't need to go to mental health, to find out how to go to dental," he told the panel. A representative of the local VA says the agency is trying to improve coordination across all its departments.
Veterans we talked to say they appreciate the chance to be heard. "It shows concern for the vets, and sometimes the vets are not getting a very fair shake in today's times," said Tod Brill, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Some of the more seasoned veterans had advice for the younger vets. "Membership in the veterans organizations is our lobby voice in Congress, said Jeanette Rae. So if we see something that is unjust in the law, we need to speak out about it."
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