A Message from the Director
New WDVA Program Addresses Veteran Suicide
By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos
Suicide amongst our veterans and service members unfortunately remains high. Every life matters so losing our brothers and sisters at arms to such an irreversible act is devastating. While we do not know the rate of suicide among family members, we know that the impact of suicide on them is significant.
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and it is toward that end the Washington State Legislature provided funding to WDVA to fund a suicide prevention effort. WDVA Counseling and Wellness Programs received funding and subsequently hired Codie Garza, MSPH, Suicide Prevention Coordinator. He program’s mission is to:
·Create a statewide plan on suicide prevention specific to service members, veterans and their families;
·Create and deliver statewide suicide and awareness prevention training programs;
·Collaborate with government and non-government agencies/organizations to establish best practices for suicide awareness and prevention materials targeting servicemembers, veterans and their families;
·Cultivate peer-led organizations serving veterans in transition and recovery, and
·Provide safer homes materials and trainings and distribute safe firearms storage devices.
Suicide prevention doesn’t rest on the shoulders of one individual for there are other WDVA Programs such as Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans Peer Corps, and War Trauma Counseling who also work toward suicide prevention and postvention efforts…and YOU!
We believe an injury to one is an injury to all and every person can make a difference in suicide prevention. Individuals consider suicide when the emotional and psychological pain in their lives is so great the only option is to take one’s life. Look for updates on this program in the coming months, and if you would like to learn how to become a suicide prevention advocate, please call Codie Garza or any member of the Counseling and Wellness Team at Codie.Garza@DVA.WA.GOV or 360-725-9849.
NOW HIRING - Begin Your Career with WDVA
For more information about available positions, please contact Karimah Ly at Recruiters@dva.wa.gov
Military Spouse Listening Sessions - ESD & WDVA Directors Travel to Military Installations to Hear from Spouses
Military families are an essential part of Washington state's social, cultural, and economic fabric, and military spouses are critical to both readiness and retention of our Armed Forces.
Six Military Spouse Listening Sessions, co-hosted by installation commands and the leaders of Washington state agencies and the Washington State Military Transition Council, were scheduled to acquire feedback and input from spouses on challenges and solutions to military spouse employment.
Military spouses that attended the listening sessions spoke directly with Employment Security Department Director, Suzi Levine, and with Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos.
"Their goal is to increase the number of military spouses who are able to obtain living-wage career-oriented jobs," said Washington State Military Transition Council (WSMTC) Planning & Strategy Advisor, Mark Sullivan. "By listening to spouses about their specific challenges and recommendations, we hope to identify and remove barriers to successfully advancing their careers in Washington state."
Listening sessions were held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Fairchild AFB, Coast Guard Base Seattle, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and Naval Base Kitsap and Naval Station Everett.
Several themes were repeated during the listening sessions:
Lack of spouse resource awareness. Many spouses are not aware of available career resources until long after they arrive to their new military installation such as the National American Job Center Network, local WorkSource offices, and local nonprofit and professional associations. Sharing information with service members does not guarantee the information will always get back to the spouse.
Lack of on-base and off-base childcare. Spouses are frequently the primary caregiver for military children. Costs along with long waiting lists for child care options often prevent spouses from pursuing careers. Additionally, the lack of drop-in care options makes it difficult to take career preparation classes, attend career events, and to attend job interviews.
Lack of flexible work options. The lack of traveling employment, remote work or flexible schedules creates difficulties for military spouses to find employment that fits the cadence of military life. Additionally, when a military member deploys, the spouse is left alone with increased responsibilities and duties.
Credential portability. After considerable investments in professional licenses and certifications, spouses are finding that they have to start all over when they move to a new military installation. Obtaining replacement credentials often requires substantial time and expense, and at times requires coursework not required at previous installations.
Rural area. Veterans and spouses face a different set of challenges from those living near large installations such as JBLM or Fairchild AFB. "Some resources, like housing and childcare availability, were particularly acute at locations like Fairchild AFB and NAS Whidbey Island," said Sullivan. "Coast Guard spouses, whose service members are often stationed at small installations in small remote areas with limited available opportunities, expressed particular concern about even finding jobs and are oftentimes considered ‘outsiders.'"
For more information on this event, please contact MarkS@dva.wa.gov
A Visit to the McNary Dam: Walla Walla Veterans Home
Residents and staff had received a special tour of the McNary Dam in Umatilla County recently.
The residents were treated with this organized tour by the Corps of Engineers and were fascinated with all of the equipment and moving parts. We would like to thank the staff of the McNary Dam and the volunteers that made this public outing a possibility.
Learn more about the Walla Walla Veterans Home by visiting:
Emergency Preparedness Fair at Port Orchard Veterans Home
To highlight October as National Preparedness Month, the staff at the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard participated in an Emergency Preparedness Fair. Non-profits and emergency management vendors held give-a-ways for our veterans, and also shared important information about preparing at home.
Staff also had an opportunity to spin and win with a prize wheel stocked with emergency preparedness supplies. Staff reviewed the facility's emergency procedure manual for the correct answers on the spinwheel. We would like to thank all of the volunteers, vendors and staff that made this event a possibility. To learn more about preparedness, please visit: www.ready.gov/
Learn more about the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard by visiting:
Donations Needed: Wreaths-across-America
Pin Up Girls Visit Spokane Veterans Home
This past Labor Day, we had the Spokane Pin Up Girls come and join the fun at our facility at the Spokane Veterans Home.
They provided entertainment for our veterans and then went and gave them a warm hug, shook their hands and thanked them for their service.
The Pin Up Girls then spent another two hours making sure they could see every resident in our facility and thanking them for their service. Each veteran also received one of the Spokane Pin Up Girls calendar with a special lipstick mark on their birthdays. #WeLoveOurCommunity
Learn more about the Spokane Veterans Home by visiting:
Washington Soldiers Home Visits Washington State Fair
Washington Soldiers Home residents recently had a wonderful time at the Washington State Fair for their Military Appreciation Day.
The fair was the perfect opportunity for residents to delight their senses in the various aromas of their freshly prepared dishes, visit with dozens of farm animals, check out the many exciting exhibits and just taking in all that the fair has to offer!
We would like to send a very special thank you to Boy Scout Troop 274 -Puyallup, The Fallen Outdoors, the LDS Church and all individual staff and volunteers for supporting the residents' day at the fair and making this a memory to never forget. We would also like to thank the Washington State Fair for donating tickets for our veterans. #WeLoveOurCommunity
Learn more about the Washington Soldiers Home by visiting:
Now Hiring at Four Veterans Homes Across the State
Are you a CNA, RN or LPN looking for a career that allows you to give back to your community and provide compassionate care to Veterans?
WDVA Social Media: Now on Instagram
YOUR Washington Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding our social media reach with a BRAND NEW Instagram Profile. Look out for photos of veterans and their families, WDVA Program Brochures, upcoming major events and more to be shared on our new Instagram profile.
Make sure you follow us on Instagram and please continue to let us know what content you would like to see so we can continue spreading the awareness on your earned benefits and available resources. #ServingThoseWhoServed www.instagram.com/wsdva or just search for WA Dept of Veterans Affairs
POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony Held at the Capitol
POW/MIA Remembrance Day at the POW Monument on the Capitol Campus
Full Photo Album: CLICK HERE
Governor's Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee Town Hall - Longview
The Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee (VAAC) is a seventeen member committee appointed by the Governor. Each member is appointed to a term of four years. Veterans are recommended for appointment to the VAAC by the leadership of nationally recognized Veteran Service Organizations active in Washington State, and two members are appointed as veterans at large.
The VAAC Operates with the motto of No Veteran Forgotten, and serves in an advisory capacity to the Governor and the Director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Members divide into small groups and plan Town Hall meetings in locations across the state.
Town Hall meetings serve two purposes:
1) To provide a forum for veterans and their families to learn about the services and resources available in their own communities.
2) To educate VAAC members on issues that are important to veterans and their families across the state so that the VAAC can share this information with the WDVA Director and the Governor.
For more information on the VAAC, contact Rene Morales at ReneM@dva.wa.gov
WDVA Hot Jobs - APPLY NOW
More Info: Please visit Employment to see the opportunities that we have!
You can also contact a recruiter at Karimah.Ly@dva.wa.gov
View our full list of Veterans Day Events at https://www.dva.wa.gov/washington-state-veterans-day-events-observances
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!
View our WDVA Calendar to stay updated with upcoming events to attend
November 2019 EVENTS
TO VIEW OUR NOVEMBER CALENDAR, CLICK HERE
WDVA Web Calendar: www.dva.wa.gov/calendar
WDVA Facebook Calendar: www.facebook.com/WSDVA/Events