South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)
VBA Regional Outreach Event held in San Antonio
The Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio was the site where the Department of Veterans Affairs and community organizations converged for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Regional Outreach event for faith-based and community organizations August 30.
The event began with the pomp and circumstance of a military ceremony, provided by the Roosevelt High School Junior ROTC, Ms. Victoria Scott with a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem and Renee Coker, leading the crowd through the Pledge of Allegiance.
Michael Walljasper, Veterans Benefits Supervisor, was event emcee and introduced the two guest speakers; Mr. Robert Worley II, Executive Director of the Houston VA Regional Office and Mr. Christopher Sandles, CEO/Director of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS).
Sandles provided an overview of the healthcare system and told the crowd about some of the services that make the South Texas VA stand out, including the Veteran staff population.
Sandles then took questions from Veterans in the audience.
A Veteran who works with local homeless Veterans through a non-profit told Sandles that many of the Veterans he meets do not know what services are available to them.
After the VA briefings, local community organizations provided overviews of their programs and services beginning with the principal partner of the event, Bexar County.
“There are 250 county Veteran service offices in the state of Texas,” said Karen Rolirad, Veteran Service Officer for Bexar County. She said the state mandates every county provide Veteran services.
She opened by asking how many members of the audience served. She followed that by asking the day they were discharged, of those who had their hands raised, knew what they were going to do post service.
Veterans have a hard time selling themselves. In the military, it’s about the team, it isn’t about you,” Rolirad said.
Some run into difficulties during, or after the service, and can find themselves ineligible for certain services, and that can become a challenge for area Veterans.
“I don’t care what type of discharge you have, I’m going to make sure you get what you need,” said Rolirad.
The remainder of the event brought state and local resource program managers to the stage including the VBA who covered their entitlement programs in detail.