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Congressman Neal to Host Veterans Roundtable Discussion with Local and State Veterans Services Officers

May 12, 2013
Press Release

CONTACT: William Tranghese (202) 225-8410


Event will be held at the Holyoke Soldiers Home  
(WASHINGTON) Congressman Richard E. Neal will hold a roundtable discussion tomorrow on service connected disability claims, and other important issues and concerns to our nation's veterans. Joining him will be Coleman Nee, Massachusetts Veterans Affairs Secretary; Bradley G. Meyes, director of the Boston Regional Office, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs; and Paul Barabani, Holyoke Soldiers' Home Superintendent. The event with the state veterans' services officers will be held at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. "This important conversation will help our local veterans get the information and assistance they need to lead productive lives," said Congressman Neal.
Based upon a need for a centralized location in western Massachusetts for Veterans to receive assistance, the Holyoke Soldiers Home opened a Veterans Assistance Center earlier this year. The center provides veterans and their families with information and assistance on eligibility and application for state and federal benefits, disability services, community referrals, and interaction with veterans' service agents. Staffed five days a week by area chapters of the Disabled American Veterans and by the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center in Springfield, the center has become a place for veterans to ask questions and to receive help with disability claims and with accessing the Veterans Benefits Administration system.
"The Soldiers Home has become the state's hub for veterans programs and services in western Massachusetts," said Paul Barabani, the Soldiers Home Superintendent. "Veterans and their family members deserve everyone's best effort in delivering the array of benefits that veterans have earned, and we are pleased to be the location for this important meeting."
In addition, the Holyoke Soldiers Home also has an office for a SAVE Team. SAVE, or Statewide Advocacy for Veterans Empowerment, is a collaboration with the Department of Public Health and their suicide prevention division. SAVE offers peer-to-peer suicide intervention and prevention support for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who may be at greater risk for suicide and need assistance reintegrating after deployments.
The fundamental principle of the SAVE program is to advocate for veterans who are not able to obtain the benefits they have earned due to institutional or personal barriers. The program's primary mission is prevention of suicide and mental health distress through early identification of issues facing veterans when they return from service and proactively providing them with access to benefits and services that may address these issues and result in positive transitions back to civilian life.
"Massachusetts leads the nation in providing services and benefits to veterans and their families because of our strong commitment to working with all available federal, state and municipal resources," said Secretary of Veterans Services Coleman Nee. "Thanks to Congressman Neal for for putting together this forum so we can have an open dialogue with all partners including: federal and state elected officials, the Veterans Administration and our local veterans' agents, to ensure we are collectively working together to provide the finest services possible to our veterans. Veterans and their families deserve nothing less."

MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013


10:30AM         CONGRESSMAN NEAL to host Roundtable Discussion on Veterans Issues and Concerns

                        Holyoke Soldiers Home Canteen

                        110 Cherry Street

                        Holyoke, MA

                        (413) 532-9475

                        Open Press