‘Veterans Affair’ gathered local resources at the University of Mary Washington Dahlgren Campus to meet with veterans employed at Dahlgren, Tuesday.
The event was sponsored by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), which brought together 20 organizations and program representatives to help veterans better understand their benefits.
“At this event, veterans can create a toolbox or develop a network of the resources available to them,” said Marietto Jeffries, veterans special emphasis program manager at NSWCDD.
NSWCDD, a developer of military technology and weapons systems, employs more than 560 veterans.
“Dahlgren and veterans is a win-win all the way,” said Jeffries. “When you hire veterans you get insight into what’s going on currently in the fleet, how people use the equipment, how it’s maintained and how it’s stored. You’re dealing with people that were in the fleet, so they understand the systems on a deep level.”
The event was in part a response to NSWCDD’s veterans not knowing the extent of their benefits, a trend reported by the human resources department.
“There’s so much information out there about veterans benefits and it changes constantly,” said Jeffries. “Old information is bad information. We need veterans to be aware of what benefits are available and to take advantage of everything.”
He adds that spouses of veterans can get hiring preferences, attend no-cost resume workshops and can get degrees and education benefits.
“It was a very informative event,” said Joe Price, a NSWCDD electronics technician and Marine Corps veteran. “Everything was made very accessible, and there was great information about what’s available in this area.”
Some organizations and representatives at ‘Veterans Affair’ include the following:
• Department of Virginia Veterans Services: assists veterans in determining VA benefit eligibility and applying for their benefits.
• Frazier-Mason Some Gave All Foundation: organizes an annual memorial motorcycle ride that raises money and awards it to assist veterans wounded in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The foundation has awarded more than $150,000 to date.
• McGuire Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Rural Health Initiative: checks eligibility for enrollment in VA healthcare, assists with the application process and provides health education to veterans residing in rural central Virginia communities.
• Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren Morale Welfare and Recreation: has 14 base facilities veterans may use including the base pool, movie theater, library, bowling alley and tickets and tours office.
• NSF Dahlgren Fleet and Family Support Center: makes classes, workshops, counseling and legal services available at no cost to veterans.
• NSWCDD Academic Programs Manager: provides assistance using VA and NSWCDD benefits to continue education.
• Old Dominion University, Distance Learning: offers several undergraduate and graduate programs designed to award credit for military training and work experience.
• Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Virginia: serves veterans and their families and creates a community for veterans in Virginia.
• Virginia Wounded Warrior Program: provides services to veterans and their families for stress-related problems including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
Jeffries hopes to hold more veterans events in the future with the goal of making ‘Veterans Affair’ a semiannual event.