Mobile Vet Center visits UNHS clinics
The Grand Junction Vet Center, in conjunction with the Colorado Veterans of Foreign Wars, recently brought a special Mobile Vet Center (MVC) to San Juan County to visit the four UNHS Community Health Centers.
According to Melissa Cleveland, Veterans Coordinator at Utah Navajo Health System, Inc., two representatives from the Vet Center and one from the VFW brought the mobile unit to the various sites to help local veterans with paperwork and other VA-related issues. She said this was the first trip to San Juan County for the mobile unit, and the response was pretty good at each site.
On February 21, the unit was in Navajo Mountain to help about ten veterans fill out various forms, including compensation and pension forms, answer questions about enrolling with the Grand Junction Healthcare Systems and questions about VA benefits.
The mobile unit moved on to the UNHS Monument Valley Community Health Center on February 22 to work with nine veterans, and the next day seventeen veterans in the Montezuma Creek area received help at the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center.
The last stop was in Blanding, at the UNHS Blanding Family Practice Community Health Center and Blue Mountain Hospital. Seven veterans used the mobile unit’s services there. During their visit, the mobile unit staff also made available to the veterans many surplus items from the Department of Defense. These items included sweaters, hats, T-shirts, jackets, thermals, gloves and other new surplus items. Cleveland said the items were given away for free to the veterans.
“This is something they try to do for the local area veterans. They hope to do the same on a bigger scale in the fall, when they bring a truckload of items for veterans,” she explained. “They will probably select one site to do this.”
The three individuals who manned the MVC were Sadie Conklin, Outreach Coordinator for the Grand Junction Vet Center; Melita Johnson, Office Manager for the Grand Junction Vet Center; and Richard “Dick” Ball, Assistant Service Officer for the Colorado VFW in Grand Junction.
Cleveland explained that the MVC is based out of San Antonio, Texas and travels across the country, bringing assistance to veterans in various locations. She said she’s not sure how long the unit will be in Grand Junction, but noted there are plans right now to return the unit to San Juan County in May or June.
“The VFW is determined to do everything in its power to get local veterans all the benefits they are entitled to,” Cleveland said. “Richard wants to stay in touch with local veterans who need help with pension and compensation issues, and other forms, and work closely with the Vet Center to help area veterans.
“Many veterans just don’t know where to start or who to call when they put in a claim and don’t hear back,” she added. “Some ask questions about how to start a small business, get home loans and how to use their veterans benefits to get home loans.”
Cleveland’s office in Montezuma Creek is available to help local veterans from anywhere in San Juan County who have questions or need VA services, but this new service will add valuable assistance to those veterans.