Congresswoman Duckworth Hosts Elmhurst Workshop on Improving Veterans Services

Elmhurst, IL–(ENEWSPF)–June 21, 2016.  Today Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) hosted a workshop to help improve Veterans services by ensuring non-profits and other organizations that serve Veterans have the resources, knowledge and expertise they need to accomplish their missions. Roughly 50 representatives from local Veteran-serving organizations attended today’s workshop and heard presentations about public and private grant funding as well as employment, housing, GI Bill and entrepreneurship benefits available to their organizations and the Veterans they serve. Presenters included Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training, the Honorable Michael Michaud; Executive Director of Code Platoon, Rod Levy; Director of the Veterans Program for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Megan Everett; and Acting Division Supervisor for Metro Division, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), Robert Iverson, who spoke about the Vets Cash program the Congresswoman helped create while she was leading IDVA.

“I’ve made serving Veterans my mission since I was recovering at Walter Reed,” said Congresswoman Duckworth. “And I’m pleased to help improve Veterans services today by helping make sure those who serve Veterans have access to the resources they need to achieve their missions.  Because when they do, that helps Vets who deserve every opportunity to achieve the American Dream that they fought for.  I want to make sure that all Veterans have the opportunity to compete for the best jobs American companies have to offer—and that they all have a shot at happy, healthy lives after they separate.”

Congressman Mike Quigley’s (IL-05) office cohosted the workshop.  Earlier in the day, following a medical appointment at the Hines VA Hospital, Congresswoman Duckworth met with the hospital’s new interim director, Marc Magill, M.S., in another of her efforts to improve care and address several additional problems at the Chicagoland Veterans hospital. Duckworth, an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat Veteran who still receives her own health care services at Hines, also personally surveyed the facility’s food service area after calling on the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate and address allegations of unsanitary conditions and pest infestations, including reports of cockroaches, that could put our Veterans’ health at risk. After her request, the OIG initiated an unprecedented 3AM surprise inspection just days later.

Congresswoman Duckworth has consistently worked to address allegations of long wait times, substandard care, unsanitary conditions and whistleblower retaliation within the VA since becoming a Veterans champion while she was recovering from her injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. After first highlighting several issues regarding Hines VA to VA leadership in 2013, the Congresswoman also raised her concerns about Hines directly to VA Secretary Bob McDonald during a face-to-face meeting last month. Duckworth—who is a former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs herself—requested the meeting after the independent U.S. Office of Special Counsel suggested that the VA’s internal watchdog created to protect Veterans from waste, fraud and abuse had sought to discredit whistleblowers instead of addressing problems with medical care at VA facilities during an investigation into whistleblower complaints at Hines.

Source: http://www.duckworth.house.gov