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Begich Holds Veterans’ Roundtable Event in Anchorage

“We must address the unique needs of this current generation of vets”

U.S. Senator Mark Begich held a veterans’ roundtable today at Catholic Social Services in Anchorage focusing on the issues and concerns of our youngest generation of veterans in Alaska.

Begich was joined by student veterans, a current military spouse, and several veterans’ advocates who all spoke about the issues that need to be addressed to ensure we are adequately providing for this generation of vets. 

“We must address the unique needs of this current generation of veterans, particularly during their transition to civilian life. When I look at the needs of these veterans, it’s not just providing individuals with access to necessary care and services, but also providing their families with the support they need,” said Begich. “We have far more service members with families today and like any family they are struggling with childcare costs and family needs – while also trying to successfully transition to civilian life. There are things we can – and must – do to support these veterans and their families and that is what today’s event was all about.”

Repeat deployments also appear to have taken a toll in higher post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates in this generation of vets and increased survivability has created a class of vets with medical needs far surpassing those of predecessors.

“I have worked hard to expand veterans’ health care access in Alaska and I am proud of the progress we have seen by partnering with the tribes and working with the VA to create a pilot project for digital files for claims processing. Today, Alaska has one of the best claims handling rates in the nation. We should be building on this success and leveraging federal programs as well as technological improvements and opportunities,” said Begich. “I will continue to fight for solutions and honor our commitment so that veterans of all generations receive the benefits they have earned.” 

List of participants is below:

  • Bryan Box -- President, Student Veterans Association at University of Anchorage Alaska (UAA), veteran
  • Nichole Grunwald -- Military and Veterans Assistant, UAA, veteran
  • Jennifer Baker – Hope for Heroes, Military Family Spouse and non-veteran
  • Stephanie Smithson – Program Director, Homeless Family Services at Catholic Social Services and non-veteran
  • Fernando Gutierrez -- Wounded Warrior Project, veteran
  • Christian Garrett -- Warrior Transition Battalion staff, veteran

For a complete look at Begich’s work on veterans issues and his role on the Veterans Affairs committee please visit his senate website.

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