VA launches new mobile unit as they increase outreach at the fair

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands of people are making their way to the Erie County Fair this week; hundreds of those, are veterans who, for the first time, are being introduced to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We get to reach people in their own settings,” said Shawn Crandall, the Mobile Vet Center Technician. “These are peole who normally wouldn’t come to the VA and we can go out to their communities and reach them there.”

The Mobile Unit is a bus which holds information, pamphlets and resources guides and houses counselors, ready to talk with veterans about any issues.

“A lot of vets don’t know they have PTSD or PTSD symptoms,” said Lewis Blevins, an Airforce veteran who is at the fair talking with people about healthcare services the VA provides. “We can educate them and bring them into the VA for counseling.”

From game noise to fireworks, Blevins says the trigger vary for each veteran.

“It’s a humbling and honorable thing to be able to help the men and women who defended our country,” said Blevins.

He says his favorite thing is hearing other veterans service stories and feeling that connection automatically.

“My dad was a 26 year Airforce vet; I was born in an Airforce family; I’m Airforce,” said Blevins, proudly. “I was proud to serve my country and I’m proud to serve my fellow veterans now.”

 

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