Stabenow Holds Roundtables with Veterans Leaders, Service Providers across Michigan

Monday, July 23, 2018


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) held a series of a roundtable discussions with veterans leaders and service providers in Iron Mountain, Traverse City, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, Saginaw, Detroit, Berkley, Swartz Creek, Lansing, Warren, Taylor, Grand Rapids, and Monroe to get their input on how programs serving veterans are working and provide an update on her latest work to support veterans and their families.


“It was an honor to meet with veterans and other leaders who are on the front lines in meeting the needs of veterans in Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “We’ve made some important progress in addressing problems with our VA health system and providing job, housing and educational opportunities for our veterans, but there are still so many more challenges and issues to address. These discussions were great and will help me continue to get things done for our Michigan veterans in Washington.”


“UP veterans appreciate the care they receive at Jacobetti Home for Veterans,” said Jim Provost, Chairman of the Marquette County Veterans Alliance. “The Choice program needs to be easier for veterans to access and veterans with mental health care issues need a designated link to local providers. We appreciate Senator Stabenow's support for veterans and concern for their welfare."


“Project Cherry Tree, a policy advocacy group for northern Michigan Veterans, greatly appreciates the opportunity to meet with Senator Stabenow to discuss rural veteran challenges regarding their Veteran Administration benefits,” said Steve Chowen, Executive Director of Project Cherry Tree. “We strongly feel that the over 80,000 rural veterans in the 1st Congressional District of Michigan earned the benefit of receiving their service connected healthcare close to their homes and community instead of traveling hundreds of miles to a VA facility. We look forward to our continued work with Congressional leaders to bring true choice to how and where our deserving rural Michigan veterans receive their Veteran Administration healthcare benefits.”


“Advocating for veterans and their families is a genuine concern for Senator Stabenow, made clear by her willingness to dig deep into the details here in Muskegon,” said Eli Fox, Manager of Student Success & Veterans Affairs at Muskegon Community College. “Muskegon Community College was honored to host her roundtable with such a passionate group of on-the-ground specialists. The discussion deepened local connections already cultivated to remove barriers. I look forward to seeing the group’s collective thoughts brought to the federal level to improve the lives of veterans nationally.”


“We are honored that Senator Stabenow offered to have this forum with local veteran service providers here in southwestern Michigan,” said Lee Lull, Director of Berrien County Veterans Services. “It provides a venue to learn what Washington is currently doing for our veterans and to provide her with feedback from the front line veteran service providers on suggestions to improve services for veterans.  Our office has contacted Senator Stabenow’s office on numerous occasions in the past and they have always been very helpful and attentive in their response and getting the VA’s attention and a positive outcome for our veterans.”


“It was a pleasure to sit down with Senator Stabenow today and have a productive conversation about VA education benefits for Michigan veterans,” said Bethany Alford, Director of Military Student Affairs at Saginaw Valley State University and US Navy Chief. “Her continued work in this area is deeply appreciated and will have lasting impacts in our community and throughout the state.”


“We had a roundtable discussion with Senator Stabenow and some leaders in our community,” said Edward Tuggle, Director of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9 in Detroit. “We talked about the promises that have been made to veterans but are not always kept. Senator Stabenow is making sure veterans are not taken advantage of and that promises to them are kept.”


“Any opportunity to share information with veterans and hear their concerns is valuable because it allows us to better serve them here in Oakland County,” said Garth Wootten, Division Manager of Oakland County Veterans Services. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this roundtable discussion with Senator Stabenow.”


“We appreciate Senator Stabenow coming to meet with us in Swartz Creek today,” said John Kayanek, Commander for American Legion Post 294. “Some of our veterans were really impressed with what she’s willing to do for them. It’s great to know we have a champion in Senator Stabenow who is working to get the best deal for veterans.”


“We had a productive conversation with Senator Stabenow about some of the issues veterans face in our community,” said Brett Holt, State Commander of the American Legion. “Senator Stabenow has been a strong advocate in our work to improve services for veterans and we appreciate her support.”


“I am very glad I attended the meeting with Debbie Stabenow,” said Rose A. Rudisill, Founder of Downriver for Veterans. “It is very rewarding when you go to a meeting with a Senator and know that there is hope for us veterans. Debbie listened to our complaints and she understand the frustrations veterans are going through.”

GRCC President Bill Pink said the college certified 377 military veteran students in the 2017-2018 academic year, allowing them to take advantage of the funding from state and federal benefit programs to use toward coursework.


“We’re proud to serve the people who have served our country, helping them earn credits to advance their education and career skills leading to great jobs,” Pink said. “We’re focused on being relevant and responsive to all of our community. Our veterans are a vitally important part of West Michigan, and we want to make sure they have every opportunity to build on the skills they gained in the service.”


“We had a productive discussion with Senator Stabenow today,” said Bob Cebina, Post Commander, VFW 1138. “We’re grateful for the work she is doing to make sure our country keeps its promises to our veterans and their families.”

In Iron Mountain, Stabenow was joined by representatives from the Iron Mountain American Legion, Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs, Dickinson County Veterans Service Office, Oscar G. Johnson Iron Mountain VA Medical Center, Dickinson County Health System, Dickinson County Commission, SAIL Disability Network of the UP, and Marquette County Veterans Alliance.


In Traverse City, Stabenow was joined by representatives from Project Cherry Tree, Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse Health Clinic, Grand Traverse County, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Munson Medical Center, Michigan Officers Association of America, VFW Cherryland Post, American Legion Post 35, Northwest Michigan Health Services, and the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Services.


In Muskegon, Stabenow was joined by representatives from Health West, Kent County Veterans Services, EverSharp Veterans, Inc, County Council of VFWs, Williams Hughes PLLC, WINC: For All Women Veterans, Muskegon Community College, Mercy Health, the Brian Mattson Center for Restorative Justice, Grand Valley State University, and the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.


In Benton Harbor, Stabenow was joined by representatives from Berrien County Veterans Services, Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency, Emergency Shelter Services, the American Legion, Battle Creek VA Medical Center, Kalamazoo County Veterans Affairs Office, Volunteers of America Michigan, Conybeare Law Office, P.C., Real Heroes, Van Buren County Veteran’s Services, Right at Home, South Bend Vet Center, Lest We Forget, and Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence. 


In Saginaw, Stabenow was joined by representatives from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Marine Corps League, Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, Saginaw American GI Forum, Saginaw Vet Center, Saginaw Valley State University, Midland County Veterans Service Office, Bay County Veterans Foundation, Ascension Health, Bay County Veterans Services, Delta College, and Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works.


In Detroit, Stabenow was joined by representatives from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9, Michigan Veterans Foundation, Macomb County Bicentennial Committee, Montford Point Marines of America, OutCry Youth and Street Ministry, Disabled American Veterans, Michigan Welfare Organization, Volunteers of America, American Legion, Oakland Health Network, and the Detroit City Council.


In Berkley, Stabenow was joined by representatives from the Southfield Veterans Commission, Polish Legion of American Veterans, American Legion, City of Berkley, Oakland County Veterans Services, and the American Red Cross Michigan Region.


In Swartz Creek Stabenow met with representatives from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Marine Corps League, Disabled American Veterans, Polish Legion of American Veterans, Saginaw Vet Center, Navy League, New Beginnings Veterans Outreach, Veteran Community Action Team Region 6, Shiawassee Veteran Affairs and Services, Lapeer County Veterans Affairs, Genesee County Veteran Services, GST Michigan Works!, University of Michigan Flint, Mott Community College, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, and Ascension Michigan.


In Lansing, Stabenow was joined by representatives from the American Legion, Lansing Community College, Invest Vets, Eaton County, Michigan State University, Battle Creek VA Medical Center, Vietnam Veterans of America, Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Michigan Air and Army National Guard.


In Warren, Stabenow met with representatives from All Ways Care/Family Matters, American Legion Post 566, Detroit V.A. Medical Center, Disabled America Veterans South Oakland County Chapter 19, Macomb County Community Mental Health, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Macomb County Veteran Services, National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), Sailor, Soldier, Airman & Marine Access Center, State of Michigan Veteran Employment Services, U.S. Army TACOM-Automotive/Armaments Command, VFW Post 6756, VFW Post 6802, VFW Post 4162, VFW Auxiliary Post 1407, and VFW District 10.


In Taylor, Stabenow met with representatives from Wayne County Community College Downriver Campus, University of Michigan Dearborn, Downriver for Veterans, M-SPAN Programs, University of Michigan Depression Center, Michigan HHS, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 127 Detroit & Downriver, Gary L Miles Veterans Home, VVA Chapter 259, DAV 125, Howell, and UAW Local 412 Unit 10 Veterans Committee.

In Grand Rapids, Stabenow was joined by representatives from Grand Valley State University, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Cherry Health, Mercy Health, Grand Rapids Veterans Center, Habitat for Humanity, Kent County Veterans Services, Battle Creek VA Medical Center, Wyoming VA Health Care Center, Marine Corps League, Ferris State University, and Grand Rapids Community College.

In Monroe, Stabenow was joined by representatives from the VFW, Lenawee County Veterans Affairs, ProMedica, Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs, Monroe County Veterans Affairs, Buddy to Buddy Program, Fisher House Michigan, and the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System. 

More background on Senator Stabenow’s work to improve services for Michigan’s veterans may be found here.