Earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs started a campaign in six U.S. cities to promote the use of VA benefits and services to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VA, through its National Veterans Awareness Campaign, began releasing T.V. ads on Monday in Norfolk, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Watertown, New York; and El Paso, Texas. The cities were chosen because of their close proximity to major military bases and large numbers of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn veterans.
A mere 8 million of the 23 million veterans actually take advantage of the benefits and health care services offered by the VA. With the new ads, Eric K. Shinseki, the VA Secretary, hopes more veterans will become aware of the services provided by the VA, and will gain greater access to them.
“This advertising campaign is an effort to bridge the gap,” Katie Roberts, VA Press Secretary, stated. “VA wants servicemembers and veterans to know we are the resource. The sooner we meet their needs, the less likely they are to encounter the repercussions commonly associated with their post-combat experience.”
The National Veterans Awareness Campaign ads are set to run through November, and feature Iraqi war veteran and former Marine Sergeant Robert Kugler. In the first ad, titled “What Lies Ahead,” Kugler insists that newly transitioning combat veterans take advantage of their well-earned VA benefits and services.
“Welcome home!” Kugler states in the T.V. ad. “You’ve served your country. Now that you’ve completed your service, you’ve got lots of opportunities for your future.” He goes on to tell veterans of the VA benefits, the GI Bill, and even the VA home loan program that are all available to veterans after service.
‘It’s your VA,” Kugler states. “Take advantage of your benefits.”
Photo thanks to Veterans Affairs under creative common license on Flickr.