Inside NoVa: Spanberger honors Vietnam veterans at pinning ceremony, services provided at mini-conference

INSIDE NOVA, REBECCA MELTON

Feelings of honor and gratitude were on full display earlier this month, as the community and local resource exhibitors came together in support of Culpeper’s Vietnam veterans, providing a plethora of services and resources to them and their families.

After listening to feedback from many community members about a need for better awareness of resources available to local service members, veterans and their families, a number of organizations including Encompass Community Supports provided information all under one roof from 9-4 p.m. on March 2 at the Daniel Technology Center of Germanna Community College, Culpeper.

Many veterans and civilians were in attendance and witnessed U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, representing Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, as she provided the opening remarks and gave the honor of pinning Culpeper’s local Vietnam veterans.

“While I am not a veteran myself, I rely on the service members, veterans, and veterans’ families to tell me what you all are experiencing and where you see room for improvement. Your advocacy is having a real impact.”

Spanberger explained the three bipartisan laws affecting veterans and military families recently passed that she worked on to push. These were created through the communications with those who have served, and her mission to improve the resources and outreach available to them.

In mention was the Computers for Veterans and Students Act of 2022, the bipartisan bill recently passed which provides the federal surplus of repairable computers to nonprofit computer refurbishers — who will then repair and distribute these computers to veterans, students and others in need.

Other highlighted successes for military families was the Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, which provides generations of veterans expanded and extended eligibility for veteran affairs health care for those who were exposed to any sort of toxins, domestically and abroad, as well as the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act that modifies the extension of dependent coverage under TRICARE by allowing a dependent under the age of 26 to be covered without an additional premium.

After the pinning ceremony for veterans and their surviving spouses, began the mini conference for service members, veterans and families, kicked-off by Assistant Director and Administrator of Fredericksburg Health Care Center and Navy Veteran Sandy Market.

Market spoke on the upcoming Veterans Outpatient Facility that will be opening in Fredericksburg in the coming months. The building will encompass four floors and exceed 400,000-square-feet.

The structure itself will be the largest veteran outpatient facility in Virginia. It will provide veterans and service members from the Culpeper area with expanded clinical services including dental, eye, minor surgeries, mental health, women’s health, OT, chiropractic, radiology and more, conveniently located in one place close to home.

The facility will also provide over 750 new jobs to the area, which will be listed on USAjobs.com no later than June 2024.

The later part of the conference held informational demonstrations by participating exhibitors, offering in-depth support and explanation of their services to attendees.

To find out more about the opportunities and resources that are available to Culpeper veterans and military families, visit Fauquier-mha.org/resources-to-download/.

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