March 2019

A Message from the Director

WDVA’s Spirit of Giving

By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos

In addition to being some of the best employees around, our WDVA team is also one of the most generous!

During the 2018 Combined Fund Drive Campaign, 425 employees donated nearly $40,000 and 30 hours to CFD Charities.  That is more than half of our agency’s employees reaching into their own paychecks and committing their valuable time to help others in our communities!

This year, WDVA’s own CFD charity received more than $6,500 in donations allowing us to serve more veterans in need of housing and other essential services.

The Office of Secretary of State Kim Wyman runs the CFD in Washington and this year’s theme of “Find Your Why” resonated with public employees who collectively raised 5.4 Million.

At a recent recognition event in Olympia, WDVA was honored with several awards:

  • Highest Participation from a Large Agency 52.52%
  • CFD Team of the Year – Rene Morales, Liza Narciso, and Gary Lott
  • Local Coordinator of the Year – Barbara Holbrook Washington Veterans Home
  • Local Coordinator Team of the Year - Fia Jensen and Katheline Washburn Walla Walla Veterans Home

(Click here for event photos)

In order to engage every employee in our WDVA Offices, four State Veterans Homes, and State Veterans Cemetery, local CFD coordinators put on 27 different fundraising events.  Ranging from bake sales to community carnivals, these events are great ways for our teams to come together and support the community organizations they are passionate about. 

Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Combined Fund Drive Coordinators:

Port Orchard Veterans Home - Barbara Holbrook

Washington Soldiers Home - Robert Pence

Spokane - Tracey Smith, Mona Robinson

Walla Walla - Fia Jensen, Katheline Washburn

CO - Rene Morales, Liza Narciso, Gary Lott


Along with our executive team, Cemetery Director and Administrators at the Veterans Homes, I would like to give a special thanks to our local coordinators and every WDVA Team Member for helping make 2018 a great one for our charities!


Find out more about the Combined Fund Drive and how your charity could be listed at:


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Every year, the Defense Department recognizes March as Brain Injury Awareness month to increase awareness of traumatic brain injury. Throughout the month, the Military Health System will provide tools and resources to educate the military community, and those who support them, about TBI.

2019 Theme: Advancing Warfighter Brain Health

The 2019 Brain Injury Awareness Month theme supports the enduring responsibility of DoD to promote and protect the health and well-being of our nation’s warfighters and their families.

“Only by amplifying our communications about, and promoting awareness of warfighter brain health and surveillance initiatives, can the department eliminate, once and for all, the stigma that remains attached to help-seeking behaviors,” Shanahan stated.

About Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI is a signature injury of current conflicts and, according to DVBIC, 383,947 service members received a TBI diagnosis from 2000 until the first quarter of 2018. Additional helpful facts include:

  • DVBIC defines a TBI as the result of a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain; not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI.
  • Injuries can be closed or penetrating head wounds and will range in severity from mild to moderate to severe.
  • The most common form of TBI in the military is mild TBI, also referred to as concussion.
  • Common symptoms following a concussion include headaches, dizziness, sleep disturbances, vision changes, balance problems, fatigue, attention and memory problems, irritability, and mood changes.
  • Early detection of traumatic brain injury leads to early treatment; early treatment leads to better outcomes.

“Educating our service members and families to recognize the signs and symptoms indicative of TBI and making it easy for families, loved ones, and friends to seek and receive the information and support they need to respond compassionately and constructively to a member who may have sustained a TBI, are essential first steps,” wrote Shanahan.


Read more at:

Washington State Veterans Cemetery - Forgotten Heroes Interment


For more information on this event, please contact​​​​


​​​​​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? Contact for more information


Walla Walla Veterans Home Residents Receive Visit from Special Lamb

Pet visits are a regular occurrence at Walla Walla Veterans Home (WWVH); from the local Humane Society, volunteers, families and staff. However, meeting and cuddling a newborn lamb was an unique and rare privilege.

Carmelle Boyd, Social Services Director at WWVH, brought “Willow” (her family’s 2-day old bottle-fed lamb) to work for a day. Willow warmed hearts and brought smiles to residents, volunteers and staff alike. After meeting little Willow, a resident of WWVH’s Stevens/Whitman neighborhood said, “it’s amazing to see how something so tiny can bring such big joy to people!”.

Learn more about the Walla Walla Veterans Home by visiting:


VFW Dept of Washington Auxiliary Visits Port Orchard Veterans Home 

Port Orchard Veterans Home recently received their annual visit of the VFW Department of Washington Auxiliary Commander.

While visiting at the home, the Commander presented the home's resident council with a check for $2000.00 to be used towards acquiring more WiFi hotspots for increased internet capabilities for residents and guests.

We thank you for your generosity and for allowing our veterans more access to wireless internet across the Port Orchard Veterans Home!

The State Veterans Homes receive funding to cover essential medical care and services; however, our residents rely on donations from organizations and individuals for those items that help to make these nursing care facilities a little more home-like!  Thank you for your generosity! #WeLoveOurCommunity


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


Spokane Veterans Home Residents Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

The Spokane Veterans Home held their annual St. Patrick’s Day event and it was a hit!  The home had the local Spokane VFW come in and make Green Shamrock Milkshakes and play various games with the residents.

Later during the party, the Lilac Queen and Princesses showed up and performed for the residents by playing the piano, reading various poems and telling jokes.  After entertaining, the Lilac Queen and Princesses toured the home and visited with our veterans.  

Learn more about the Spokane Veterans Home by visiting:


Valentines Day at Washington Soldiers Home 

Residents, staff and family members warmed their hearts during a recent Valentines Dinner event hosted at the home.  Residents enjoyed a special meal, Valentines-themed decorations and live music! We would like to thank the many volunteers that made this event possible.

Learn more about the Washington Soldiers Home by visiting:


Register Now for the Seahawks & Department of Navy Military Hiring Event

To register for this event, please visit: or email


VA Rolls Out New Claims Appeals Process | by Patricia Kime

In what Department of Veterans Affairs officials are calling the biggest change to its appeals process in decades, the department will launch a new system this week for veterans challenging their disability claims decisions.

The new process gives veterans three options for contesting their claims, with an eye toward drastically reducing the time it takes to receive a final decision.

Under the Appeals Modernization Act, veterans will have three choices if they want to appeal the decision on their disability compensation or other VA claim.

The first option is the "supplemental claim lane," in which they can introduce new evidence in their case and have a regional specialist review it and make a decision.

Or they can choose the "higher-level review lane," in which they request that their case be reviewed by a senior adjudicator rather than the regional office. This review will consist largely of looking for errors or mistakes made in interpreting VA policies or laws governing the claim. If a problem is found, the senior claims adjudicator can require that a correction be made.

And finally, they can appeal the decision to the Board of Veterans' Appeals -- basically the same as the current system, although there will be several paths to consider if they request a board review. These paths include:

  • A direct review, in which they don't submit any additional information and waive their right for a hearing;
  • Submission of extra evidence without a hearing;
  • Or a full hearing, in which they can submit more evidence and testify before a judge.

When veterans receive their initial claims decision, they also will get a letter explaining the reasoning for it, as well as the appeal options "in clear language," said Cheryl Mason, chairwoman of the VA's Board of Veterans Appeals.




Spokane County Regional Veterans Service Center opens new facility in Spokane Valley

Spokane County Regional Veterans Service Center has relocated to a larger facility in Spokane Valley to serve veterans and their families.

County officials, employees and veterans celebrated relocation to the new facility at 1117 N. Evergreen Road with a ribbon cutting ceremony March 1.

“I was excited from the beginning for this new facility because it provides our veteran citizens an easily accessible opportunity to obtain the services they need and deserve,” said Mary Kuney, county commissioner in a statement. “This new service center will have a positive impact for regional veterans for many years to come.”

The facility is a significant upgrade from its previous location on the fourth floor of the Spokane County Regional Health Building, offering more space, ADA accessibility and free parking for visitors, said Cathrene Nichols, Spokane County and Eastern Washington Regional Veterans Services Administrator.

“The idea is to create a positive environment when veterans walk through the door,” she said.

Nichols said the veterans center received notice last year their lease in the county health building wouldn’t be renewed and that prompted a search for a new home. The center signed a 12-year lease with two options to renew for the Spokane Valley location.

The facility is operated by a public-private partnership between the county, the Washington state Department of Veterans Affairs and WestCare Foundation. Veterans can receive emergency financial assistance for housing, utilities and food, as well as help with VA claims and benefits, education, employment and counseling.

Spokane County Veteran Services has been a department within the county since 1952. Its origins can be traced back to the 1890s, when it was known as the Veteran’s Aid Bureau, administering emergency financial services to veterans, widows and their families. The county in 2017 collaborated with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs to expand and improve services.

Article via The Spokesman-Review ​​​​​​

For more information on this brand new service center and/or to set up an appointment, please visit or contact Administrator, Cathrene (Cat) Nichols at or
(509) 477-3690.


Nursing Assistant Certified (Various Shifts)- Port Orchard

Nursing Assistant Certified (Various Shifts)- Walla Walla

Nursing Assistant Certified (Various Shifts)- Orting

Licensed Practical Nurse 2- Port Orchard and Orting

Registered Nurse 2- All Veteran Homes


More Info: Please visit Employment to see the opportunities that we have! 
You can also contact a recruiter at


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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 for more information and to signup!

Upcoming Events

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Certifications Available for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists who own businesses can benefit from Washington state’s veteran-owned business (VOB) certification.

The certification is free and available to Washington-based businesses which are at least a 51 percent owned by  honorably discharged veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Businesses that receive the VOB certification will be registered in an online portal called Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) that government entities use to request bids on projects. Being listed in WEBS can help businesses win contracts with state or local government agencies. Gov. Jay Inslee has asked state agencies to do 5 percent of their purchasing from businesses owned by veterans or service members. VOB-certified businesses also are listed on the website of the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs.

Veterans must first register through an online portal called Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS), then submit documentation to prove their eligibility.

Veterans must provide proof of honorable veteran status with one of the following documents:

  • DD214 member 4 copy
  • Retired VA ID card
  • Retirement certificate
  • Discharge certificate or, if currently serving, military ID, badge, recent pay stub, or letter on military letterhead

To be eligible, a business must be owned by a veteran with a controlling stake in the company. Veterans can submit one of the following documents to prove an ownership stake of at least 51 percent in the business:

  • Master business application
  • Business plan
  • Operating agreement
  • Meeting minutes
  • Shares report
  • Stock certificate breakdown
  • Tax forms with ownership percentage listed
  • License (if sole proprietorship)

Community properties, or business that represent a 50/50 split between two veterans, are eligible as long as the veteran maintains day-to-day operational control of the business.

Finally, businesses must submit proof that their business is a Washington State Enterprise, defined as an enterprise incorporated in the state of Washington as a Washington domestic corporation, or — for enterprises that are not incorporated — as an enterprise whose principal place of business is located within the state of Washington.

Veterans can submit the necessary documents one of the following ways:

  • Email to
  • Mail to: WDVA Business Registry, PO Box 41150, Olympia, WA 98504-1150


Article is via South Sound Business - Business Examiner


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