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Ad campaign urges veterans to use VA benefits, services

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is launching a new television advertisement encouraging veterans to take full advantage of the VA benefits and services they have earned.

The ad is one step in a robust outreach effort aimed at welcoming returning Service members and easing their transition from military to veteran status. 

“VA is committed to reaching all Veterans to say ‘thank you for your service’, and to let them know about the health care, benefits and services available to help them meet whatever challenges lie ahead,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.”“Each day all across the United States, men and women in uniform return from military service, and we want to do our part to welcome them home.” 

The 30-second ad focuses on today’s generation of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and shows the path a veteran might follow from boots on the battlefield to addressing possible health issues, going to college, finding employment and buying a home. The ad emphasizes the goal of a seamless transition between the Department of Defense and VA as military Service members hang up their uniforms and enroll with VA.

VA has targeted six cities to broadcast the ad based on the number of veterans returning from service to those locations this fall.  The cities are Norfolk, Va., Raleigh, N.C., Savannah, Ga., Seattle, Wash., Watertown, N.Y. and El Paso, Texas.  

The actor in the ad is Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Robert Kugler — a former Marine currently pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles.  The uniformed personnel in the background are also veterans, as are the students, the father and husband walking out of the house, and the doctor/instructor — an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam.

This is the first of a series of broadcast and cable television ads to be produced and aired over the next several months to inform returning veterans of the many benefits and services they have earned as a result of their military service.

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC van from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Mike Dunaway, 247-2198, and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays, call Harriet Mulnix, (505) 793-1782.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. 3rd Ave. Durango, CO 81301 (the old Mercy Medical Center). Phone number is 247-2214.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.