It was a chilly Saturday morning. That didn’t stop many Fort Walton Beach-area Veterans from riding their motorcycles to honor Vietnam War Veterans.

More than 100 people attended the Vietnam Veterans commemoration outreach event hosted by Okaloosa County and Pensacola VA Vet Centers. It took place with the VA Mobile Vet Center at Emerald-Coast Harley Davidson in conjunction with the Harley Davidson Blackwater River Ride.

Members from the Vet Centers came out to honor and recognize Vietnam War-era Veterans. They also made themselves available to answer questions about readjustment counseling services they provide to Veterans and their family.

“Too many Vets not using services they have earned”

Okaloosa County Vet Center team member speaks with a Veteran at the Mobile Vet Center.

Vet Center members presented Vietnam War Veterans a commemorative Veteran lapel pin and presidential proclamation.

Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers. They provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services. Those services are free and available in a safe and confidential environment. Vet Centers serve eligible Veterans, active duty service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their families.

This event was a great opportunity to show our appreciation to our Vietnam Veterans and also provide information on Vet Center services. There are still too many Veterans who are not using our services to which they have earned.

Many Vet Center counselors are Veterans

Okaloosa County and Pensacola VA Vet Centers continue to provide Veterans with readjustment counseling services in person, by phone and VA Video Connect.

Many Vet Center counselors and outreach staff are Veterans themselves. They are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.

Counselors and staff are prepared to help those with post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and bereavement counseling, marriage and family therapy, resources for suicide intervention and assistance with VA benefits.

Veterans and family members may also contact the VA Vet Center Call Center at 1-877-WAR VETS (1.877.927.8387). This is an around-the-clock, free, confidential call center. Veterans and their families can talk about their military experience or any issue they face in their readjustment to civilian life.

Here’s more information on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Thomas Tucker is a Veterans outreach specialist for the Okaloosa County Vet Center.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis R. McDonough stands in front of the Vietnam War Memorial.VA, DoD secretaries honor Vietnam War Veterans
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