RoundupReads This Veterans Day, ConVERG invites you to share information and support with veterans and their families

This Veterans Day, ConVERG invites you to share information and support with veterans and their families

On Oct. 8, Johnson Space Center hosted a number of veteran support agencies to bring awareness to the programs and resources available to veterans. Representatives from Career and Recovery Resources, Texas Veterans Commission, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the United Way of America (Veterans Department) came out to the Building 3 Collaboration Center, as well as delegates from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Division, Medical Center and Benefits Qualification sector. These organizations provide assistance to America’s veterans in various ways, ranging from medical needs to job training, job placement and housing support.
The Connecting Veterans Employee Resource Group (ConVERG), which focuses on overall education and awareness for the veteran segment of JSC’s workforce, sponsored the lunchtime event.
Dave Hall, co-chair of ConVERG, said that the group is concentrated on supporting service members through all phases of the deployment process. This includes:
  • Help with the deployment process, including Human Resources (HR) on both the Department of Defense (DoD) and NASA side
  • Support while on deployment (family support, care packages and continuing contact)
  • Support of returning service members to the JSC family 
  • Provide a support group that gives veterans a safe place to talk with people who can relate during the acclimation period
  • Help with the reentry process, including HR on the DoD and NASA side
  • Continue offering support to veterans
  • Provide a group that gives veterans social networks with people who can relate
  • Education on veterans’ issues and benefits
The group meets monthly, usually on the first Wednesday of the month.

Veteran Support Agencies at JSC on Oct. 8:
Career and Recovery Resources is an organization that attempts to match veterans with the skills needed for a particular job. They provide alternative drug and alcohol recovery programs, a clothing closet for people in need of work clothes and training services.
For more information, visit:
The Texas Veterans Commission is a state agency that acts as an advocate for the state’s veteran population as they go through the process of securing their earned benefits. They offer:
  • Claims representation and counseling for veterans, their dependents and survivors in all issues relating to benefits and rights.
  • Veterans Employment Services offers employment services to the state’s veterans and assists employers in finding qualified vets for positions.
  • Veterans Education Program finds eligibilities in federal educational benefits.
For more information, visit:

Paralyzed Veterans of America is an organization that helps with the special needs of spinal cord injury or dysfunction vets. They advocate for:
  • Health care.
  • Research and education addressing spinal cord injuries and dysfunction.
  • Benefits available as a result of military service.
  • Civil rights and opportunities that maximize the independence of veterans with spinal cord injuries and dysfunction.
For more information, visit:
United Way of America has a Veterans Department that provides the following services:
  • Advisors that assist in directing veterans and their families to community resources to help address their full range of needs and issues, including housing and education.
  • Mental wellness and suicide prevention that supports the development of policy initiatives and integrative approaches to reaching and treating at-risk veterans, such as help hotlines and clinics.
  • Career Development promotes the connection of veterans with employers and provides business advice, mentoring and career counseling.
  • Recovery Services offer veterans currently in substance-abuse recovery work experience and community service opportunities to support the path to rehabilitation.
For more information, visit:
Navigating through Veterans Affairs can be a daunting progress. However, representatives who attended the ConVERG event indicated that it does not have to be such an overwhelming task. First, the veteran must obtain a Veteran Identification Card and DD 214. The identification card is issued by the VA for eligible veterans to use at VA medical facilities. The DD 214 form is a document from the DoD that is issued after a person retires, separates or is discharged from active-duty military. (ConVERG event tip: Having multiple copies of the DD 214—it makes life easier.) Both the ID card and DD 214 will allow the veteran to collect benefits owed.
The next item that is needed is the Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors Handbook. It contains information on everything from filling out forms to receiving medical care, to collecting the GI Bill and pensions, as well as home loan guaranties. This booklet guides vets and their family members comprehensively through the system.
While the VA does provide medical care to veterans, it is important to note there is a difference between a VA Medical Center and an outpatient clinic. A center provide all sorts of medical health care, whereas a clinic has services for mental health care and substance-abuse recovery. The first step toward seeking any form of treatment getting enrolled.
For more information on the application process, visit:
The VR&E services offered by the VA helps veterans and service personnel enhance their job opportunities with job training, employment accommodations, résumé development and job-skills coaching. There are programs, too, that can provide vets aid in starting their own businesses. There are even independent living services for those who are severely disabled and unable to work in traditional employment.
For more information on the application process, visit:
ConVERG poster 

Amelia Hill
NASA Johnson Space Center
ConVERG is an Employee Resource Group that supports military service members, veterans and their families at JSC. Image Credit: NASA