(Photo by John West)

A chance for help, face to face

Over the course of three days in September 2017, Cary, N.C., American Legion Post 67’s Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC) saw more than 1,000 veterans seeking help with Department of Veterans Affairs-related issues.

The effort resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in VA benefits being paid out, bringing the total amount garnered from similar VEACS in the state to more than $4 million since 2015.

Another effort will take place Sept. 13-15 in Cary at the Herbert C. Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave. The hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 13, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 14 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

The event, hosted by Post 67 and the Wake County Veterans Office, will make available to veterans various local, state and federal agencies to assist with veterans benefits and health care questions. Veterans will have the opportunity to meet face to face with those workers, rather than dealing with them over the phone or online.

“North Carolina’s got one of the highest populations of veterans and active-duty people,” said Post 67 Service Officer Richard Spyrison, the VEAC’s organizer, during the 2017 event. “Its veterans need help. They need guidance. They need the one-on-one experience with VA.”

Last year veterans came from as far away as Arizona and Washington, D.C. While it is not a requirement, it is recommended that veterans come to the center based upon the final two digits of their Social Security Number:

Sept. 13 – 00-33

Sept. 14 – 34-66

Sept. 15 – 67-99.

Spyrison said he expects 1,200-1,400 veterans to attend this year’s VEAC. He also said Smithfield Foods will provide more than 400 sandwiches each day for the veterans attendees.