January 2019

A Message from the Director

The New Year has started and I’m excited to begin our work together serving Washington’s Veterans and their Families!

The State Legislative Session began on Monday and we hit the ground running meeting with members of the Ways and Means, Appropriations and Capital Budget Committees to ensure they are aware of the funding requests included in the Governor’s Budget for WDVA.  Our largest request is for funds to help close the gap in our Veterans Homes caused by revenue challenges at two of our facilities. 


On the Capital Budget side, I am very happy to report that the Governor’s Budget has a number of investments in our State Veterans Homes ranging from HVAC system upgrades to new flooring, paving and even the removal of 2 old buildings that are becoming safety concerns.


When it comes to WDVA’s Counseling and Wellness Program (this is the new and improved name for the Behavioral Health Program), we will see a focus not only on providing counseling services to veterans and families but also in offering education and training to providers and employers serving veterans each day in our communities.  Programs such as the Veterans Peer Corps and Veterans Farm at Orting will also grow in 2019.


Other issues we are committed to working on include suicide prevention for both veterans and families of veterans.  Already we have seen several bills introduced that would increase awareness and provide services in our schools and communities. 


In addition, we will continue to work with our legislators on military spouse employment and how challenges in this area impact not only the military family but also the ability of the military itself to retain service members. 


In the coming weeks there will be many more bills introduced by legislators with a goal of improving or enhancing services to Washington’s veterans and families.  You can stay up to date by signing up for our weekly legislative email updates at https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/list/subscribe.html?lui=ov8ia944&mContainer=236&mOwner=G1d1e1h&mListId=HL%23628


WDVA Survey - Let Us Know How We're Doing

Take a few moments and provide us with feedback to make us better in 2019 at Serving Those Who Served. 

Your feedback is instrumental in the continued improvement of your Washington Department of Veterans Affairs.

To complete the survey, please visit: www.surveymonkey.com/r/F859P7N



​​​​​NOW HIRING: Certified Nursing Assistants - Walla Walla Veterans Home 

Are you a CNA looking for a career that allows you to give back to your community
and provide compassionate care to Veterans?


Holiday Happenings at the Port Orchard Veterans Home 

Port Orchard Veterans Home residents have been staying busy with holiday activities galore.  Residents were able to recently set up the facility's Christmas Tree, enjoy a ballet performance of Nutcracker, decorated gingerbread houses and many more holiday activities.  We would like to thank the many volunteers that assisted with making these numerous events possible. #WeLoveOurCommunity

Learn more about the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard by visiting: 

New Year's Eve Party at Spokane Veterans Home 

Spokane Veterans Home recently celebrated the New Year by having a 2019 New Year’s Eve Party.  Men in Rhythm performed while residents and their families enjoyed delicious sweet treats.  Residents enjoyed the festive music and danced along, while wishing each other a Happy New Year. The evening culminated with a traditional ball drop during the 'Auld Lang Syne' Song.

Learn more about the Spokane Veterans Home by visiting: 


New Year's Eve Bingo Party at the Washington Soldiers Home 

All eyes were on those bingo cards as the winning numbers were called and residents received cash prizes. Cash prizes were also awarded for residents who demonstrated the most new year’s eve party and bingo game spirit. The New Year’s Eve celebration was

complete with party favors, props and delicious refreshments. Thank you to Resident Council, Military personnel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, individual volunteers and staff  for bringing excitement to the residents’ New Year’s Eve Party!

Learn more about the Washington Soldiers Home by visiting: 

Santa Visits Walla Walla Veterans Home

Veterans and Walla Walla Veterans Home staff had a jolly old time during the holidays when Santa came to visit. Christmas carols, laughs and smiles were aplenty throughout the home as numerous holiday festivities took place. We would like to thank all of the volunteers that made this possible.

Learn more about the Walla Walla Veterans Home by visiting: 


Become a Certified Veterans Peer Corps Mentor

To register for this event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/veteran-peer-corps-peer-mentor-training-tickets-53652349622 or email Bryan.Bales@dva.wa.gov


​​​​​​Nominations Underway for Washington’s volunteers

Written by Amber Martin-Jahn, Office of Financial Management | amber.martin-jahn@ofm.wa.gov

The organization Serve Washington is now accepting nominations for outstanding volunteers in Washington communities. These awards honor the exemplary service of individuals, groups and organizations that made a significant and measurable contribution to their communities through service and volunteering during 2018.

This year’s 2019 honorees will be recognized at an April 12 ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia.

“The awards honor some of Washington’s most dedicated volunteers," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "Their service is the foundation for caring communities and a thriving Washington. I am always impressed with the dedication, innovation and leadership of Washington’s volunteers and I encourage organizations from across the state to submit a nomination.”

In 2018, the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award honored 20 individuals. Mike Port received the 2018 Governor’s Volunteer Service award in the health care category. Port, a Seattle Children’s Hospital volunteer, said receiving the award was further affirmation that he’s doing something good for the staff, parents and children at the hospital.

“There isn’t a shift that goes by that someone hasn’t thanked me for being there,” he said. “The award was a ‘thank you' on a much higher level, and I was honored and humbled at the same time. It is an event I will cherish the rest of my life.”

Barbara Tilley, Wenatchee resident, received the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award in the Senior Corps category for volunteering with RSVP of North Central Washington. The nonprofit recruits and places volunteers in the area.

“I felt most honored, and yet very humbled, to be chosen as one of the honorees,” Tilley said. “The day at the Governor’s Mansion was wonderful! It was so inspiring to learn about all the voluntary service projects and the leaders. Washington state is indeed so fortunate to have this huge volunteer force in place.”

Volunteer recognition is a key component of effective volunteer management. Last year, more than 2 million Washington residents–35 percent of the state’s population–volunteered for 202 million hours. That worked out to be an estimated economic value of $4.8 billion, according to the “Volunteering in America” November 2018 report.

You can submit a nomination through http://servewashington.wa.gov/ until 5 p.m., Feb. 8, 2019. You may nominate someone in the following categories:


  • AmeriCorps alumnus
  • Animal welfare
  • Arts and culture
  • Citizen Corps/CERT volunteer
  • Disaster preparedness and response
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health care
  • Human services
  • Public safety
  • Social services
  • Teen (13–18 years old)
  • Veteran
  • Youth (up to 12 years old)

National Service:

  • AmeriCorps member
  • VISTA volunteer
  • Senior Corps program participant


  • Employer-based program
  • Service group
  • Volunteer family


Washington State Patriotic Day - Show Washington State 
Your Patriotism 

If interested in joining as a group, organization or just to register for the event, please visit: 


​​​​​​WDVA Behavioral Health Program is Changing its Name

The Behavioral Health Program under your Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is changing its name to the Counseling and Wellness Program.


The PTSD War Trauma Program began in 1984 where no-cost outpatient counseling is provided to Vets and their family members. In 2005 began the Veteran Conservation Corps, 2008 the Vet Corps, 2009 Vet Supportive Campus, 2010 Traumatic Brain Injury, 2011 Veteran Training Support Center, 2012 VCC Internship, and in 2017 the Veteran Peer Corps (A total of eight programs). Because of the mission of counseling of the War Trauma Program the overarching title assigned to describe it and other aforementioned programs was Behavioral Health.


Behavioral Health is an appropriate term if one were only referring to PTSD War Trauma, however it doesn’t aptly describe the rest. Subsequently our team met during a retreat to further discuss common values and themes and identify possible program titles. A survey was sent to stake holders to solicit their ideas and this data along with team recommendations produced Counseling and Wellness. 


We will continue to exhaust literature that cites Behavioral Health Program and will replace over time with Counseling and Wellness Program. If you have any questions or would like more information about any of our programs please feel free to contact me.


Find out more information by visiting: http://www.dva.wa.gov/benefits/counseling


Peter G. Schmidt, Psy. D., LMHC
Counseling and Wellness Program Director
Office: 360-725-2220


Military Funeral Honors "Honoring Those Who Served"

The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. "Honoring Those Who Served" is the title of the DOD program for providing dignified military funeral honors to Veterans who have defended our nation.

Upon the family's request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the Veteran's parent service of the armed forces. The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the Veterans' family.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries.

The Washington State Veterans cemetery staff will arrange military funeral honors for interments at the State Veterans Cemetery, Medical Lake. Veterans organizations may assist in providing military funeral honors. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.

The Department of Defense began the implementation plan for providing military funeral honors for eligible Veterans as enacted in Section 578 of Public Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2000 on Jan. 1, 2000.

Questions or comments concerning the DOD military funeral honors program may be sent to the address listed below. The military funeral honors Web site is located at https://mfh.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh/. [Link will take you off the VA web site.]

Read More at: www.dva.wa.gov/military-funeral-honors-honoring-those-who-served




Nursing Assistant Certified (Evening and Night Shifts)- Walla Walla
Nursing Assistant Certified (Evenings)- Port Orchard
Registered Nurse 2 On-Call- Port Orchard

More Info: Please visit Employment to see the opportunities that we have! 
You can also contact a recruiter at Karimah.Ly@dva.wa.gov


Hired a Veteran? Sign Up Today at www.YesVets.org

After you’ve notified us that you’ve hired a veteran, we will contact you to arrange delivery of your YesVets decals, to be prominently and proudly displayed at your place of business.

Thank you for your support of those who served!

Visit www.YesVets.org for more information and to signup!

Upcoming Events

View our WDVA Calendar to stay updated with upcoming events to attend



WDVA Web Calendar: www.dva.wa.gov/calendar

WDVA Facebook Calendar: www.facebook.com/WSDVA/Events

Learn more about the Max Impact Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Mobile Application by visiting:


Please take a few moments and provide us with feedback to make us better in 2019 at Serving Those Who Served. 

Your feedback is instrumental in the continued improvement of your Washington Department of Veterans Affairs.

To complete the survey, please visit: www.surveymonkey.com/r/F859P7N

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