ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) It is not all fun and games at the Champlain Valley Fair. Serious work is underway aimed at getting our veterans the care they need.
Friday was Veterans Day at the fair and the push is on to make every minute count. Teams from the VA Hospital Association set up shop just feet from the food and fun. They say 50 percent of our veterans don't know what they qualify for when it comes to their benefits. Their goal is to fill folks in on things like disability payments, health care and VA home loans. They tell me getting answers can be as simple as a five-minute conversation.
"What I want them to know is make sure you check out what benefits you qualify for. You served, you earned those benefits, come and find out because 99 percent of the time veterans are not utilizing something that they have qualified for through their service to the country," said Michael McNamara of the VA Hospital Association.
"Anytime you see a veteran go up to him or her and thank them for their service, it means a lot to them," said Denzil Whitetail, an Army veteran.
A group from the Vet Center in South Burlington was also set up on the fairgrounds. These folks have been here all week to talk with veterans and their families about the mental health services that are available to them in our community to address things like re-integration and PTSD.
The VA says so far it has already registered about 30 veterans at the fair. If you or a veteran you know didn't make it out here Friday, they say you can call the VA in White River Junction for help.