By MADDY VITALE
The Auxiliary for VFW Post 1963 in Sea Isle City is hosting a VA (Veterans Affairs) Outreach Program at the post to give all veterans, military personnel and their families the ability to speak to outreach specialists directly about any questions they may have.
The first event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21 at the post at 301 JFK Boulevard. After that, the service will be provided on the third Tuesday of each month.
“There are two outreach specialists who will be there to answer questions,” explained VFW Auxiliary President Patti Lloyd. “It is a brand new program we just started. We may need to make some adjustments, but we are starting it and will see where it goes.”
Lloyd said people may participate who are not members of the post. “There are a number of questions people may ask,” she noted.
Some examples of questions may be, “Am I eligible for glasses? How do I get reimbursed? Can I see a specific doctor?”
“These are specific questions you can’t answer on a form,” Lloyd said. “The outreach program is so important.”
Lloyd emphasized that social distancing will be adhered to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All you need is to practice social distancing and wear a mask,” she added.
People will line up and could come in two at a time, one person to each specialist.
Lloyd, who was elected the Auxiliary’s president in April 2019 and took office in June of 2019, said she is very excited about the new program.
“We had an engagement forum back in February, and the VA gave an overview of what the VA has to offer. We had 43 people in attendance. A couple of our members said to me that they wanted specific answers to their questions,” she said.
So, the VA agreed to come down monthly and answer those questions.
Lloyd, whose husband, Mark Lloyd, is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army and received a Purple Heart, said she is a firm believer in helping the military.
“My husband is my hero. My father-in-law was a Navy veteran and my father was an Air Force veteran,” she noted. “I can never give back in the way they did and all the members of the military who give for our freedom.”
That is why she is making it a point to provide more programs for the military members, veterans and their families.
But the success of the Auxiliary is only because of the many dedicated members, she stressed.
“Our Auxiliary is the third largest in the state of New Jersey. We have 236 members,” Lloyd said.
She continued, “We are very proud of this. It is not just all members and me. We have a lot of active members. We have a lot of non-members who help us. This is a community like no other. I am truly nothing without the members of the Auxiliary.”
For more information about VFW Post 1963 and the Auxiliary, visit www.vfwpost1963.com or visit the Facebook page.