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State is conducting survey to gauge how it can better serve veterans

By Maureen McCollum Wisconsin Public Radio The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to better understand veterans' needs across the state through a survey it's conducting. There are more than 409,000 veterans in Wisconsin that have ...

By Maureen McCollum

Wisconsin Public Radio

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to better understand veterans’ needs across the state through a survey it’s conducting.

There are more than 409,000 veterans in Wisconsin that have served in World War II through more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The WDVA is hoping those veterans and their family members take time to fill out the survey so it can gauge how WDVA services and benefits are being used.

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Marketing manager Dan Buttery said they want to know how to best communicate with different generations and how needs may vary by region.

“If they’re a post-Iraq veteran coming home and (are) now having to re-assimilate into society, what are their needs? Have we been able to effectively address those needs, or are there services and benefits that are currently being offered that the family member or the veteran aren’t aware of?” said Buttery.

A group of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students recently took the survey in the school’s Veterans Lounge. Student Veterans Association Vice President Dani Jo Schiro said that she’s glad the WDVA put out a survey, but doesn’t understand what its goal is. It mirrors the confusion she has navigating benefits on a local, state, and federal level.

 “I know to go to the VA for health care and some of my education stuff, but with the WDVA, I thought that was part of the regular VA. Up until we started talking today, I thought it was part of it,” she said.

SVA President Rob Thoen said many students receive Wisconsin GI Bill tuition assistance through the WDVA, but many may not realize it comes from the state.

He also said that in addition to the survey, the WDVA should reach out to employees who work with veterans on a local level to understand community needs.

The online survey is open through Veterans Day on Nov. 11. A link to the survey is available on the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs website at dva.state.wi.us/.

 

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