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Veterans fair offers services, support

Jul 17, 2015

A veteran's service dog demonstrates use of the Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors tracked wheelchair.
Credit Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

A  veterans fair in Washtenaw County today offered one-stop shopping for employment, counseling, health, and other services. About 20 groups participated in the event at Scio Township Hall. Michigan U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg and Debbie Dingell hosted the event. 

Organizations on hand to offer help included the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, the VFW Department of Michigan Service Office, the Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs, Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, and many more. 

The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System is the largest veteran's health system in Michigan, providing services to about 65,000 veterans. Robert P. McDivitt, Medical Center Director for the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, was at the fair to reach out to veterans. "We're interested in more veterans coming to our system, if there are veterans who are current users and they have questions or concerns, we're here to listen to the voice of veterans," says McDivitt.

Michigan Operation Outdoor Freedom (MiOFO) is a collaborative effort of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and a number of groups serving veterans and disabled people including Camp Liberty, Brain Injury Association, Zero-Day, the Passing Along The Heritage Foundation, the Eisenhower Center, Safari Club International Foundation, and others.

MiOFO provides recreation opportunities to disabled people, including veterans, at the Sharonville State Game Area and neighboring Camp Liberty. "We're taking disabled veterans and any individual with health challenges out on accessible hunting lands," said Tom Jones, MiOFO Project Coordinator.

Even though Dingell, a Democrat, and Walberg, a Republican, disagree on many political issues, their values align when it comes to services for veterans. 

"When you are helping those that serve our country, there's no room for partisanship," says Dingell. "They served us and now it's our turn to serve them."