“This month, we’re encouraging every veteran to call three friends,” Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs (OVA) Director Verdie Bowen said, “and asking them to please call three friends each. And if any are having difficulty, encourage them to call a Vet Center.”
Bob Nelson served 23 years as a counselor to veterans at the Anchorage Vet Center and as a counselor to veterans and first responders following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina through his nationally recognized Post-Traumatic Stress response programs. Bob passed away on October 20, 2017, leaving a legacy of honorable and exemplary service.
Congress established the Vet Center Program in 1979 in recognition that significant numbers of Vietnam veterans were experiencing readjustment problems. The goal of each Vet Center is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make satisfying post-war readjustments to civilian life. Vet Center services are available to all combat veterans and their family members.
“The Vet Center represents a vital resource for veterans when they transition out of the military,” Phillip Hokenson, Chair of the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council said. “The Center stands in the gap to meet the behavioral health needs of active duty service members when they transition while they line up their VA Healthcare and VA Benefits.”
“Readjustment can often be difficult and sometimes lead to other serious issues like depression, substance abuse, and suicide,” Bowen said. “That’s why it is imperative that we all take a moment every day to reach out to our brothers and our sisters – those we served with – and encourage them to utilize the services available at the Vet Centers. These are free, but invaluable, services that save lives.”
Vet Centers are located at:
In Anchorage: 4400 Business Park Blvd, (907) 563-6966
In Fairbanks: 540 4th Ave., #100, (907) 456-4238
In Wasilla: 851 E. Westpoint Dr., #102, (907) 376-4318
In Kenai/Soldotna: 43299 Kalifornsky Beach Rd., (907) 260-7640
For veterans benefits and information, contact the OVA at (907) 334-0874 or toll- free at (888) 248-3682, or visit the OVA Website: veterans.alaska.gov