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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Survey seeks to help veteran community

The Whatcom County Health Department and Western have partnered up to create a survey to improve services for veterans in the community.

Ann Beck, the assistant director for Veteran Services, has been working with Whatcom County Health Department for over a year now to come up with ways to help veterans in the community. Western worked with the Whatcom County Health Department to create a survey, which will be open from Jan. 25, to Feb. 29.

Beck previously worked closely with the Whatcom County Health Department to help house homeless veterans in the community. After transitioning to Western, Beck maintained a relationship with Whatcom County Health Department but shifted the focus of their relationship.

“We are working with [the Whatcom County Health Department] to host a summit here on campus for veterans in March,” Beck said.

Liz Harmon-Craig works for the Whatcom County Health Department in veterans services and explained how the survey can allow for a better idea of what veterans want after serving.

The purpose of the survey is to obtain data to find what improvements can be made to better the veteran community, such as how to better offer information regarding job and activity opportunities, Beck said.

“We would like to create a point of interest for all veterans to be able to get information,” Beck said

Harmon-Craig hopes the partnership can give veterans better resources for learning about what is available to them. 

“I’m glad that Western is offering the space for this,” she said. “A lot of active veterans in the community are older, Vietnam-era guys. I think it’d be great to get them connected with the younger veterans. Hopefully by doing it on campus, we’ll be able to do that.”

Harmon-Craig said she would like to see veterans filing their benefits earlier on. Learning more about what benefits they have available to them will make them more prepared for buying a home or going to graduate school, Harmon-Craig said.

“A lot of [veterans], because they are young, don’t think they need to use their veterans benefits now. It’s something they’ll file for down the road,” Harmon-Craig said.

Harmon-Craig said she would like to see veterans from different generations coming together.

For more information on veterans services at Western, visit Western’s Veterans Outreach Center located in the Viking Union in room 530, or the website at http://as.wwu.edu/voc.


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