This morning, the 2010 AMVETS Symposium for 21st Century Veterans commenced at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky. A diverse working group of nearly 50 current service members, veterans, and recent military retirees gathered to discuss issues critical to today's veterans community pertaining to health care, benefits and the transition from military life.
Congressman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) joined the symposium early in the morning to address the veterans and discuss why veterans' issues are critical to him and his constituents in Louisville. During his comments, Yarmuth touched on the persistent issues of PTSD and suicide, which AMVETS is addressing in the symposium.
Yarmuth shared a personal story from recently visiting with a hospitalized veteran who attempted to take his own life, and how seeing first-hand the impact of the invisible wounds of war has driven him and other leaders in Congress to seek ways to stymie the disturbing trend.
AMVETS National Legislative Director Ray Kelley, who is leading the symposium, took the time to introduce each subject matter expert tasked to lead discussions in each of the breakout groups. AMVETS National Commander Duane J. Miskulin also took a few moments to thanks the participants, calling their work critical to the AMVETS mission.
This afternoon, the veterans broke into smaller sessions. In the health care breakout, veterans discussed patient care and staff attitudes, the invisible wounds of war, and women's needs. In the benefits breakout, veterans discussed delivery and availability of benefits and education. In the transition breakout, veterans discussed transition assistance, employment and homelessness.
Tomorrow, the groups will reconstitute to discuss their findings--identifying which problems demanded the most attention and proposing fresh solutions. On Wednesday morning, participants will present their recommendations to the AMVETS delegates gathered for the 66th AMVETS National Convention. From here, AMVETS will compile a comprehensive report to guide national leaders' work in Washington.
To learn more about the symposium, Click Here.
To learn more about AMVETS National Convention, Click Here.
(Photos: Top: Congressman John Yarmuth speaks to veterans gathered to participate in the AMVETS Symposium for 21st Century Veterans. Photo courtesy of Congressman John Yarmuth, by Dustin Alsey. Middle: Veterans participating in this year's symposium listen as subject matter experts explain why the symposium is important to their work. Photo by Jay Agg.)