Vets make Health a Priority

Veterans bridge a generation gap and put health at the forefront of their priorities. It's an issue that some say can be tough to address, especially for the newest generation of veterans.

An informational public forum for Veterans held on Monday, invited veterans and others to learn about the U.S. department of Veterans Affairs, health care, and services.

Comprised of veterans who receive services through the VA clinic, the Veteran's Advisory Board hosted the event.

Jerry Welke, a new member of the advisory board, said he receives services because of a disability incurred during the Vietnam War. Although he benefits from the VA healthcare system now, Welke says it wasn't always easy to find the best support.

"I wasn't told there were a lot of services, and I wanted to get away from it all," he said.

But Welke says he's a firm believer that services for veterans are important, and the hardships he faced after returning from war are no different than what the new generation of veterans face.

Welke and others hope to share their own experiences with young veterans and those who may not know about the health care, or don't know who to trust.

"I have a little easier contact with those veterans that I run into," said Welke. "And I can get some of that across to them, a lot better than them coming into places to get services."

Travis Karr, a Marine Corps Veteran, works with veterans resources at Central Community College. He said returning from Iraq was a challenge for him, because he went straight back to school.

"It's a challenge," said Karr. "You're going into a different world from military to home, and resources are valuable. I had a tough challenge."

"You trust the veterans that have been through this program before, they can share their experiences," he said.

The health forum was a way to introduce the Veterans Advisory Board to the community and provide information about their services.