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Veterans in Care Program
by Connie McMullen
Veterans in Care Program Celebrates 100th Ceremony Honoring Nevada’s Veterans
The Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) marked its 100th ceremony of honoring and recognizing veterans who have served the nation in the U.S. armed forces. The milestone Veterans in Care (VIC) ceremony was held at Lakeside Manor where 31 veterans who served in WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam, received personal recognition for their service to the country.
“The VIC ceremony at Lakeside Manor was unique in that veterans from all armed forces were represented for the first time,” said Kat Miller, Director of the NDVS. Recognized were 12 Army, 4 Marine, 8 Navy, 4 Air Force, and 4 Coast Guard veterans, all residents of the retirement community.
Since the program began in the spring of 2016, the NDVS has reached more than 1,800 veterans living in residential, skilled or assisted care facilities. The total number of veterans honored is currently 1,857, with a goal to reach 2,300 by the end of the year, and 5,000 over the next year and a half.
“That is 5,000 who never asked to be honored,” said Director Miller. “We want to make sure you have access to all the benefits you deserve.”
Lakeside Manor resident Ron Tachibana, a Marine who served in Vietnam, said the outreach ceremony was pretty nice. “You expect to be recognized for service on Veterans Day, but to be honored out of the blue is pretty cool,” he said.
VIC Administrator Wendy Simons, NDVS Deputy Director of Health and Wellness, said, "We are thrilled to celebrate the 100th ceremony this week. In just a few short years, we have been able to touch the lives of thousands of veterans in hundreds of care facilities.”
Many of Nevada’s veterans may not know they have earned benefits that may enhance their quality of life, as well as their spouse or families. The VIC outreach connects veterans to benefits and programs that they may not be aware they qualify, or because they did not see active military duty and consider themselves not eligible.
The ceremony held July 25, recognized veterans with a commemorative Nevada’s Heroes lapel pin and individualized certificates signed by Director Miller along with certificates from Congressional representatives. Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske was also present to personally thank the veterans for their service.
The VIC program encompasses three related components; education regarding Benefits and Programs; Veteran Culture Education and Training for health care providers who work with veterans; and Quality of Life Recognition and Communication for veteran residents. To date, the VIC program has reached over 500 WWII veterans, 313 Korean veterans, and 14 veterans over the age of 100.