12/09/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/09/2023 15:39
Several staff members of Battle Creek VA were honored at the 67th Military Appreciation luncheon hosted by the Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce Nov. 9. Employees from Medical, Eligibility/Enrollment and Veterans Transportation Service accepted the award before an audience of Veterans, service members and local dignitaries from communities across southwest Michigan.
They were part of the PACT Outreach Team that conducted over 70 PACT Act Information events that helped enroll Veterans for the care and benefits they deserve.
Shortly after the passage of the act, Battle Creek VA's PACT Act Outreach Team embarked on a mission to ensure that no Veteran in their 21 county catchment area faced unnecessary barriers to enrollment and screening.
They led a thorough assessment, identifying and dismantling obstacles, before pushing a communication plan that focused on radio, social media, email and post cards to reach their primarily rural Veterans.
"The outreach team did phenomenal work reaching Veterans in the community and making them aware of the benefits they have earned," said Brian Pegouske, Communication & Community Engagement. "We're really proud of the gains we made this year in Veteran awareness."
Traveling to senior centers, county offices and private venues throughout southwest Michigan, the PACT Act Outreach Team brought details about the expanded eligibility and benefits to Veterans of many different eras. Veteran Service Organizations, on-site health care enrollment and toxic agent screening were available to Veterans during the events.
Thanks to their hard work, Battle Creek VA enrolled 2,331 new Veterans last year, which was an increase of over 600 versus the previous year. Over 26,000 Toxic Exposure Screenings have been conducted as well, surpassing the goal by 111%, and with an average of 88% of follow-ups completed within 30 days.
The luncheon included members of the Army and Navy Reserve, Army and Air National Guard, VFW and other community partners. It was a celebration of the sacrifice and service our Veterans in southwest Michigan have made throughout 2023 and the Veteran Support available to these Veterans in the local community.