The Times West Virginian

Opinion

September 27, 2012

Survey can help ensure veterans receive services they need, deserve

West Virginia lawmakers appear to be doing something they sought to accomplish some five years ago.

They are conducting a comprehensive survey to learn more about the state’s legion of military veterans and their needs.

They hope to accomplish this by the beginning of the next legislative session.

The survey is a good idea, and if lawmakers can come up with numerous answers about the veterans’ health, work, education and family, among other things, it can be labeled as worthwhile.

Joseph Scotti, a psychology professor at West Virginia University who is helping to spearhead the project, says that veterans are typically can-do people, “so we want to ask about that and document that.”

The volunteers who are working with the project have a technique that may ensure that the questionnaires are returned. Volunteers are handing out flyers at places such as Walmart, and the survey is being promoted with veterans’ groups. To encourage participation, veterans who enter a drawing can compete for $500 worth of VISA cash gift cards.

The survey is mailing more than 8,000 postcards to veterans this week, inviting them to take part. Veterans can also call a toll-free number (855-299-6605) to schedule a phone interview, or take the survey online at www.wvmilitarysurvey.com.

West Virginia has many veterans, One in 10 adults in the Mountain State are veterans, and just 11 states have a larger segment of veterans among their residents.

And more than two-thirds of West Virginia’s veterans are 55 years of age and older. An estimate suggests that 7 percent of the state’s male population has served in the military since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

One challenge to outreach efforts is the fact that 60 percent of veterans never enroll with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

One can readily see the problem that would be created as West Virginia would have a large group of veterans who don’t seek services either because they don’t need them or think they don’t need them, or they think it’s too difficult to go out and find them.

The latest survey comes after lawmakers, at Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s request, created the Cabinet-level Department of Veterans’ Assistance by elevating an existing state agency. It welcomes the survey, spokeswoman Heather Miles said.

“It’s really hard to track veterans when they’re not registered with the federal VA,” Miles said. “What we’re really hoping to accomplish with this survey is finding out what they’re taking advantage of, what benefits they’re even aware of, and then how we can better serve them.”

One thing the previous outreach efforts accomplished was having a Washington Post investigation reveal grossly substandard conditions for wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. Cases of alleged neglect were reported by outpatient soldiers and their families. This resulted in a scandal and media furor and a number of firings among top administrators — moves that no doubt were needed.

This time we trust the lawmakers will obtain the information which they are seeking without uncovering scandals.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

  • Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths

    Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
    A simple 57-cent item.
    That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.

    April 4, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads