Idaho Falls’ branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will host an outreach event Saturday to raise awareness of the resources available to veterans in the area.
The event will be held on May 18 — Armed Forces Day — at Veterans Memorial Hall on Constitution Way in downtown Idaho Falls. Service officers and other leaders from the VFW Post 2146 will be on hand to discuss the medical and social options for veterans in the area as well as recent changes to programs that may affect them.
Post 2146 Chairman Robert Akins said the group decided to hold the event this year to make sure that veterans of any age and service history were up-to-date on available services and benefits. The meeting will also cover resources that could help the spouses and family members of those veterans.
“There’s nothing better than having a one-on-one conversation to talk about these options,” Akins said.
Younger veterans in the area may not have needed to use those resources yet, while the older veterans have more medical issues from their age or their service. Akins said that the military base he served on outside Da Nang during the Vietnam War was exposed to high levels of Agent Orange, which can lead to cancer in those exposed to the chemical.
The event is not affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the VA clinic that opened in Idaho Falls last fall is likely to be a major talking point at the event. Akins had traveled to Pocatello for years to visit his VA doctors and was happy to have a doctor he could easily visit in town.
“Now there’s an office in Idaho Falls and everyone needs to be aware of it,” Akins said.
The veteran outreach event will begin Saturday at 1 p.m. Free ice cream will be provided due to a donation from the Idaho Falls Walmart.