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Mental Health and Upcoming Events

Despite the numerous benefits and services available to Veterans and their families, I still struggle to find topics for this weekly article. When something new enters my world as a CVSO, I pounce on the opportunity to share. The low hanging fruit or easy pickings if you will. To my surprise and initial frustration, I find a published article about an important topic I was eagerly awaiting to share. As my sense of defeat quickly subsided, I concluded the added recognition and education of Veterans is a win-win for all.

If you are reading this fine publication, then you should already know I am referring to mental health and VA’s recent announcement. Veterans in acute suicidal crisis will be able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit. As the campaign says, Don’t wait, Reach out. Help is just a phone call, text, or chat away through the Veterans Crisis Line. Dial 988 then press 1. Text 838255. Chat at https:// www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/chat.

February 3 is Four Chaplains Day commemorating the heroic events of four chaplains, George L. Fox (Methodist), Alexander D. Goode (rabbi), Clark V. Poling (Baptist) and John P. Washington (Catholic) in 1943, when the troop ship USAT Dorchester sank. They gave their own life vests to others and helped as many men as they could into the boats, then they linked their arms together and went down with the ship. Four chaplains were posthumously awarded by the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. In 2006 chaplains were awarded by the Medal of Honor.

March 29, 2023 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The America Legion Post 109 in Two Harbors will be holding the second annual Vietnam War Commemoration on that Wednesday. The event will thank and honor Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. The Post will be providing more details in the coming weeks.

March 30, 2023 is Veterans Day on the Hill at the state Capitol. Veterans and supporters will lobby state legislators for Veteran friendly legislation. Some topics include a Veterans omnibus bill, ensuring surviving spouses have access to property tax relief, and fixing the Post 9/11 Service Bonus to include all current resident Veterans.

Brad Anderson is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.834.8326, or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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