A Message from the Director -
Gold Star Memorial Highway Dedication
By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos
On Friday, March 19, 2021, our State Veterans Cemetery and State Department of Transportation unveiled a sign on State Route 902 officially naming the stretch of highway the Gold Star Memorial Highway.
SR 902 is the primary route traveled to reach Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, the final resting place for over 6,300 veterans and family members.
The sign unveiling was the culmination of years of work with legislators, community leaders and the WSDOT. I would like to thank the mighty Eastern Washington Veterans Task Force and our Cemetery Director, Rudy Lopez for never losing sight of this important project and seeing it through to the end.
In addition to the Gold Star Memorial Highway designation, our State Legislature is currently considering a bill, SHB 1250, that will designate Washington as a Purple Heart State.
You may be familiar with several Counties and stretches of highway that display Purple Heart signs. This bill would spread the designation across our entire state and allow WDVA and WSDOT to fundraise for the placement of signs at all highways that lead into our state. SHB 1250 is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Committee on State Government and Elections on March 24, and following that will head to the Senate Floor for a vote.
I am proud of our state leaders for seeing the importance of passing these bills and resolutions. We have several thousand Purple Heart living recipients and thousands more who either died as a result of their wounds.
We also have many families who lost loved ones in combat, our Gold Star families. By placing visible reminders of the extreme sacrifices made by our military personnel, veterans, and family members, our state will continue to remember them and what they stood for.
Throughout our history, the important contributions of women in our nation’s defense and as part of the Veteran population cannot be overstated. During Women’s History Month in March, we remember women who served our nation throughout history. This observance grants deserved recognition and acknowledges the achievements of women in the military.
For generations, women Veterans have honorably served America’s wars and conflicts throughout our history. Although women were not formally under military command until the early 20th century, they have served in various capacities, beginning with the Revolutionary War.
Women Veterans continue to break barriers today modeling national service for generations to follow. Women use the skills and experiences from their military service to make achievements in their careers, contributions to their communities, and to become public service leaders. WDVA is committed to recognizing and honoring these achievements and providing women Veterans with the benefits and services they earned and deserve.
For your dedicated service, strength and courage, WDVA salutes you!
Now Accepting Admissions for Four Skilled Nursing Facilities - Walla Walla, Orting, Port Orchard and Spokane
Now Accepting Admissions for Four Skilled Nursing Facilities – Walla Walla, Orting, Port Orchard and Spokane
Caring for veterans who need skilled nursing, rehabilitation, or long-term care.
For veterans needing care following a qualifying hospital stay, we offer Medicare rehabilitative care. Our admissions team works closely with hospital discharge planners to quickly process applications.
Veterans rated 70%-100% Service Connected Disabled, or whose service connected disability is the reason nursing care is needed, may have their nursing home care paid by the Federal VA
Download an application now: https://dva.wa.gov/veterans-their-families/veterans-homes/admission-application
Call 1-877-838-7787 or e-mail us directly at:
Port Orchard: MelissaJ@dva.wa.gov
Walla Walla: LoriR@dva.wa.gov
LEARN MORE AT: https://dva.wa.gov/veterans-their-families/veterans-homes
St Patrick's Day at Washington Veterans Home
Earlier this week, our honored residents celebrated one of the longstanding traditions with festive activities, wearing green and enjoying homemade soda bread made by the activity staff.
Multiple smaller sessions were held throughout the day to make sure everyone could celebrate with safety precautions still in mind.
One of our newest dieticians joined the party and got everyone thinking about good nutrition. She had a short fun quiz to test everyone's nutritional knowledge and afterwards spent time with each resident to answer any individual questions.
Learn more about the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard by visiting: https://dva.wa.gov/veterans-their-families/veterans-homes
Reminiscing Group Activities at the
Washington Soldiers Home
Residents engaged in a lively reminiscing group that was interactive with movement and offered a choice of discussion topics for each resident participant. With the toss of a star-studded "Talk & Toss Ball" residents grabbed on & chose their topic of discussion.
Residents had a great time and found themselves opening up with increased interaction with their peers.
Uniting a Family
The Walla Walla Veterans Home and entire Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Family lost a beloved resident, Air Force Veteran Glenda Sullivan, on March 6, 2021. However this is not the end of her story.
After her passing, Glenda’s Guardian, Marci Perkins, continued looking for the son she had frequently mentioned in conversations with Perkins and Veterans Home staff. After several days of searching, Perkins learned that Glenda’s son had died at just 13 days old and is buried just hours away in Idaho. After finding this out, Perkins has since arranged for them to be interred together on March 25 at 1 p.m. at Mountain View Cemetery, with much deserved Military Honors.
Glenda was born in January of 1954 and graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 1976. Glenda commissioned in the Air Force in 1979 serving as a Clinical Nurse for seven years and achieved the rank of Captain. During her service, Glenda received numerous medals and citations, including the Air Force Commendation Medal, AF Organizational Excellence Award, Humanitarian Service Award and Medal, and AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon for serving nearly three years in Japan.
While much of Glenda’s personal life remains a mystery, it is apparent that photo albums and souvenirs were some of Glenda’s most prized possessions. Together, they help to tell the story of a woman and veteran who loved to travel and truly experience all that life had to offer. Meeting new people and having a great time with them was a theme throughout Glenda’s photos spanning over several decades.
Following a hospital stay in 2017, Glenda requested help moving her items from her apartment in Yelm to the Walla Walla Veterans Home. The belongings she asked for also said a lot about how diverse she was as a person. Among them were a silk kimono, a wooden elephant, Japanese statues, carvings and vases, and photos of exotic places. There were also countless photos of Glenda smiling with friends, personal letters, and notes which she clearly treasured throughout her life.
At the Veterans Home, Glenda’s health conditions made conversation with her difficult at times; however, caring staff and her Guardian knew what would always make her light up – “Gossip about the royal family, The Three Stooges, and any old movie with Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers or Fred Astaire.”
“As her guardian, sometimes just spending time watching TV with her and having a snack would be all she needed”, said Marci Perkins, Glenda’s Guardian. “When I would come for a courtyard visit, I would make sure I had the latest scuttle on the Royals. She was an amazing individual who did things on her terms.”
The Walla Walla Veterans Home is honored that Glenda choose to spend her final years in their care and is hopeful that Glenda’s Guardian will be successful in reuniting mother and son for eternity.
A message to Walla Walla Veterans Home Families: If you would like the story of your loved one who has been a resident at the Veterans Home to be shared, we would be honored to do that. Please contact Lonna Leno firstname.lastname@example.org or Heidi Audette email@example.com and send your story and photos.
Women in Military Service
Graphic via www.womenshealth.va.gov
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The month-long campaign aims to educate people about the effects that living with a brain injury can have on the injured and their families. This time lends itself to outreach within the brain injury community to de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of available support. The WDVA TBI program supports and represents every veteran in Washington State that has incurred a Brain Injury.
That means that we:
- Provide one on one support Provide answers, resources, and referrals
- We are always looking to be a part of any discussion involving or affecting the veterans with Brain Injury in this state.
- Support the groups and agencies that are out there doing great things for our vets by helping them get the word out through the Max Impact App.
- We are always looking to provide training and advice to any agency, group, summit, conference, etc. that wants to know more about how to help the brain-injured veteran.
The veteran community experiences brain injury at a much higher rate than that of their civilian counterparts. These injuries often go undetected and underreported because they do not appear “severe” enough to warrant treatment. The blast injury, for example, is considered the signature injury of OEF/OIF and can cause brain damage with symptoms such as light sensitivity, migraines, difficulty with emotions and memory and will increase the risk of substance abuse, homeless and suicide to name a few yet many vets are unaware they have even been injured from having experienced a blast.
Finally, Max Impact is a reliable back-pocket support system for veterans who experience challenges from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Much like the role a service dog plays in the life of a veteran with PTSD or TBI, “Max” helps the user manage their symptoms, learn about TBI and connect with others to share and support one another. Max Impact allows users to check in with how they feel, pick a current challenge they might want to work on, and Max will guide them to resources that fit their needs. Max is a dependable companion to any veteran or caregiver living with TBI.
Download the free app today at iTunes or Google Play
Learn more by contacting Peter Schmidt at PeterS@dva.wa.gov
WDVA Military & Veteran Community Resources
Resources List - Military and Veteran Community Resources in Response to COVID-19
This guide lists resources specific to our Military and Veteran community that may help us to get through the COVID-19 crisis. This may be helpful not only to you and your family, but may also provide resources to help you better serve veterans in the Veterans Homes and Programs.
Subscribe to the WDVA Podcast! Now Available on Apple ITunes
WDVA Podcast - Counselor Tanisha Medina
This week's episode we are joined by Mental Health Counselor Tanisha Medina!
Tanisha can be found at https://www.psychologytoday.com/profile/365940
The Washington Department of Veterans Affairs is proud to partner with The Region X Veterans Business Outreach Center. If you are in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon or Washington State, we are here to assist you with free coaching and training. You can connect with us at https://businessimpactnw.org/veterans-business-outreach.../ . We are part of a network of 22 VBOC’s around the country. So, if you are not in our Region, you can still avail yourself of VBOC services. Just click here to find the center that covers your area: https://www.sba.gov/.../veterans-business-outreach-center...
Questions for the show? Email VPC@dva.wa.gov
Questions for the show? Contact Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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?
More Info: Please visit Employment to see the opportunities that we have!
You can also contact a recruiter at Recruiters@dva.wa.gov
Seahawks & YesVets Hiring Event Coming in April
As a YesVets employer, you have access to trainings, tax incentives and many more benefits. If you've recently hired a veteran and would like to become a YesVets employer at no cost, please visit: www.YesVets.org
Seattle Seahawks Task Force 12 Virtual Military Hiring & Resource Fair (brazenconnect.com)
Visit www.YesVets.org for more information and to signup!
Video PSA - Highlighting WDVA Programs -
TRANSITIONAL HOUSING PROGRAM
Transitional housing facilities in Port Orchard and Orting help those in need with stable housing, vocational rehabilitation, and employment. Veterans are surrounded with staff and wrap-around services that lead to successful program completion and return to the community.
Transitional Housing Program Video Overview:
Learn More about the Transitional Housing Program and/or to
download applications, please visit us at:
Veterans Transitional Housing Program | WDVA (wa.gov)
WDVA HOT JOBS
Nursing Assistant Certified Walla Walla
Registered Nurse 2 Walla Walla
Nursing Assistant Certified In-Training
Nursing Assistant Certified - Port Orchard
Nursing Assistant Certified Spokane
Human Resource Consultant 4, Spokane
Fiscal Analyst 2, Accounts Payable
To Apply or for more Information on Available Employment Opportunities:
View our WDVA Calendar to stay updated with upcoming events to attend
WDVA 2021 EVENTS
TO VIEW OUR WDVA CALENDAR, CLICK HERE
WDVA Web Calendar: www.dva.wa.gov/calendar
WDVA Facebook Calendar: www.facebook.com/WSDVA/Events