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Veterans survey could help bridge gaps in services

Sep. 26, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

West Virginia is once again reaching out to its military veterans to assess how they're doing and to extend a helping hand where needed. We hope the state's veterans are receptive.

The legislature has launched a survey with the primary purpose of identifying veterans' needs so that possible action to assist them can be taken during the legislative session in the winter. Toward that end, more than 8,000 postcards will be mailed to veterans this week, fliers will be distributed in public places, and veterans groups will be called on to encourage their members to participate. The survey will ask veterans about a variety of topics, including their health, their work, their education, their family and their participation in community activities, according to a report by The Associated Press.

The attention to veterans' needs is well-placed, since about 170,000 West Virginians are veterans, or more than one in 10 of the state's adults, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The trouble is that about three-fifths of veterans don't enroll with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, making it tough for the VA to reach out to them and provide services. That's why steps such as this survey are important.

After a similar survey in 2008, the state started to provide transportation to veterans in rural areas to and from VA hospitals and paid for social workers to help veterans with housing, counseling and other issues, according to the AP report.

So we encourage veterans to take part in this latest survey. To participate or get more information, veterans should call a toll-free number, 855-299-6605, take the survey online at www.wvmilitarysurvey.com or look up the West Virginia Department of Veterans' Assistance website at www.veterans.wv.gov.

These veterans have served their country, and this initiative could help their state serve them better.



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