U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Join us live on May 20th at 2PM ET for a Q&A session in support of Memorial Day for Survivors and Caregivers and Mental Health Awareness.

You can ask questions to the following people:
» RDML Ann Duff - Director of the Office of Survivors Assistance, VA
» Delaney Heffner - Supervisor, VHA CHAMPVA
» SMSgt Thomas Paulus - Program Management Officer, VHA CHAMPVA
» SGT Shauntye Alexander - Deputy Director, Office of Community Care
» Coleton Whitaker - Director of Programs, Elizabeth Dole Foundation
» Maj Bonnie Carroll - President & Founder, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
» Nancy Menagh - President, Gold Star Wives of America
» LTC Jon Drake - VP Operations, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation
» Kylie Willis - Enrollment Coordinator, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation
» LTC Hugo Lentze - Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer, Travis Manion Foundation
» Melissa Comeau - Director, American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network
» Pete Jeffries - National Engagements Director, AARP
» Leah Christensen - Clinical Program Coordinator, VA Caregiver Support Program
» Maj Lillie Mells - Program Coordinator, VHA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
» Detra Giles - Assistant Director, Outreach, Office of Transition and Economic Development
» Pamela Avey Stemple - National Service Officer, American Gold Star Mothers
» Joe Duran - Director Policy and Planning, VA
» Kristie Thibodeau - Outreach Specialist, CaringBridge
» Angell Bolden-Green - Chief, Outreach, Office of Transition and Economic Development
» 2LT (Join to see) - Engagement and Memorial Innovations, National Cemetery Administration

VA Office of Survivor Assistance:
The Office of Survivors Assistance serves as an expert resource regarding all benefits and services furnished by the VA to Survivors and Dependents of deceased Veterans and members of the Armed Forces. We can help you navigate the myriad of benefits and services available, and direct you to your best options. Additionally, we work closely with veteran service organizations, other departments, state and local veteran groups and community leaders to educate everyone about available services and benefits.

TAPS:
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provides compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 95,000 survivors of fallen military in the form of peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been profoundly affected by a death of a military loved one. For more information go to taps.org or call the TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline at 800.959.TAPS (8277).

VA Caregiver Support Program (CSP):
The Caregiver Support Program promotes the health and well-being of family caregivers who care for our nation’s Veterans, through education, resources, support, and services. CSP is comprised of two programs, the Program of General Caregiver Support Services and the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. For more information, please visit: https://www.caregiver.va.gov/

American Gold Star Mothers:
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc was founded and incorporated in Washington, D.C. 92 years ago. We are a nonprofit membership organization of mothers whose children died while on active duty, died as a result of their service, or are missing in action. We have members in chapters around the country who keep alive the memory of their sons and daughters by helping veterans, active-duty military, and their families. As a service organization, we continue the service of our sons and daughters, who would have been veterans, by volunteering at VA Medical Centers in our local communities.

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation:
Our mission is to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. The vision of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is to ensure that every child of a fallen patriot receives all necessary college funding. http://rly.pt/FallenPatriots

AARP:
AARP brings together free resources, timely programs, and important information to help Veterans & Military Families navigate their options on caregiving, fighting fraud, finding employment, and connecting with their earned service benefits at AARP.org/Veterans. With over 5 million AARP members nationwide who have served or are currently serving in America’s armed forces, AARP is on a mission to support Veterans and Military Families. Check our FREE resources, programs & timely information at: http://www.AARP.org/Veterans #AARPsalutesVets

Gold Star Wives of America:
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is a Congressional Charter Organization of surviving spouses (male and female) of those who have died as a result of active duty or service connected causes. We provide (non monetary) assistance and support to survivors. Our members honor our spouses through our voluntary service to Active Duty, Veterans and Surviving Family members.

Travis Manion Foundation:
Travis Manion Foundation strives to unite and strengthen communities by training, developing, and highlighting the role models that lead them. We develop programs, training opportunities, and events designed to empower veterans and families of the fallen, and then inspire them to pass on their values to the next generation and the community at large.

American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network:
The Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) offers peer-based support and services to connect those providing care to service members and veterans living with wounds, illnesses, injuries and/or aging. The mission of the MVCN is to provide our nation’s military and veteran caregivers of all eras with peer support to reduce isolation and increase connection, engagement, knowledge, skills and hope.

The MVCN helps caregivers of all eras and at all stages of caregiving by providing access to three peer support programs:
· Online Peer Support Community
· Peer Mentor Support Program
· Peer Support Groups (Online & Community-Based)
New Integrated Condolence Care Program - https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/press-release/2020/red-cross-offers-virtual-care-for-families-who-have-lost-loved-o.html

CaringBridge:
CaringBridge provides a free, easy to use website to help Veterans & Military families communicate and coordinate support during a health event. Confronting an illness, injury or death is one of the most demanding, isolating things you can do. Family and friends are an amazing source of support, but constantly sharing updates with each and every one of them is difficult. CaringBridge replaces countless texts, phone calls and emails with a free, easy-to-use communications platform including:
· Journal to Share Updates and Receive Messages
· Easy-to-use Planner
· Ad-Free, Secure and Safe Platform
Learn more at CaringBridge.org/military
Comments have been disabled
Responses: 36
CPT Bob McDonald
It is fantastic to see so many selfless leaders continuing your service to survivors, caregivers, and their families. How has the customer service experience changed within your organizations over the past years to make it easier for survivors to get the assistance they need despite the various challenges created by the pandemic?
Pete Jeffries
Pete Jeffries
26 d
Thank you sir for helping to kick off this discussion. At AARP, we salute your service and sacrifice!
Kylie Willis
Kylie Willis
26 d
Thank you for your service Secretary McDonald, we are grateful to you for your support of the survivor community! Children of Fallen Patriots is pleased to report that despite the pandemic's challenges, we have continued operation with no disruptions in assisting our students and families.

We standby and ready to assist those families that continue to reach out for assistance with their student's undergraduate education - now more than ever, it is important to ensure that our students leave college with a meaningful experience and free of debt.
CSM Alfie (Lourdes) Alvarado Ramos
CSM Alfie (Lourdes) Alvarado Ramos
26 d
Greetings Bob. It is heartwarming to see your continuing support and care for the veterans community and our survivors. This is second mission and appreciated.
LTC Hugo Lentze
LTC Hugo Lentze
26 d
Thank you for your great question, Secretary McDonald. In the face of every challenge this past year, TMF Spartans saw opportunities to step up and serve. Staying true to our mission, we were able to expand our impact and meet the needs of our veterans and families of the fallen. Without a doubt, the mental and emotional health of our membership was paramount and we pivoted to digital programming allowing a greater outreach of members with virtual online experiences from anywhere they were located across the country. Additionally, we saw surviors step up to meet needs in their communities whether that was through food and donation drives, clean up efforts or emotional support outreach, our survivors and veterans stepped up to serve.
PVT Mark Zehner
Great information! Thank you!
Maj Bonnie Carroll
Maj Bonnie Carroll
27 d
Thank you for your service, PVT Zehner. We are glad to have you join us on RallyPoint and look forward to answering any questions you may have.
RDML Ann Duff
RDML Ann Duff
26 d
Glad you are with us today and always
LTC Hugo Lentze
LTC Hugo Lentze
26 d
Thank you PVT Mark Zehner for your service. We would love for you to join our mission with other veterans and families of the fallen, to leverage your skills to help strengthen the character of future generations while uniting our communities. Join us at http://www.travismanion.org and see how you can get involved.
Pete Jeffries
Pete Jeffries
26 d
If you're looking for more free resources and news you can use info, check out our website for Veterans & Military Families: AARP.org/Veterans
LTC John Shaw
Wow! This is a serious commitment of organizations and the VA leadership. This is great to see the forum established for an important discussion.
Kylie Willis
Kylie Willis
26 d
Thank you sir! Thank you for participating in this wonderful event.
LTC Hugo Lentze
LTC Hugo Lentze
26 d
Thank you for joining us today LTC John Shaw, and thank you for your service! We are honored to serve alongside so many great Americans.
LTC John Shaw
LTC John Shaw
26 d
LTC Hugo Lentze - Right back to you Hugo; Blessings and God Speed in all you do.
LTC John Shaw
LTC John Shaw
26 d
Melissa Comeau - Melissa C. I love to see the VA commitment to reaching out to veterans in all available forums! We have to find those homeless and non-connected veterans, it takes each person looking for at risk veterans, family members and caregivers.

Join nearly 2 million former and current members of the US military, just like you.

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