LAKE CHARLES, LA - Veterans in Southwest Louisiana met Wednesday night to discuss issues they face on a daily basis and how to move forward helping their fellow service men and women.
A much-needed permanent VA clinic is being built in Lake Charles. The ground broke on that project this summer and as the facility progresses, the Veterans Action Coalition (VAC) has a new focus.
Tom Green, with the Veterans Affairs Commission, said now that the clinic has the green light, he wants to focus on specialty medical services for veterans. However, before seeking treatment, veterans must first understand what benefits they qualify for.
"They have other people over here who've been turned down for services because they don't know where to go," said veteran John Stills.
Stills says many of his friends are turned away, because they don't know what benefits they should get.
"So many do not," said Green, "It's a very important aspect for you to be able to know are you or are you not eligible for those benefits."
Many veterans say there's a breakdown in communication starting at the federal level down to the local VA offices. Stills said it's left veterans feeling lost and left behind, and he doesn't want to just be a number anymore.
"Humanize the veteran," said Stills, "When I say humanize the veteran, treat them like humans do what you would do for yourself, and that would help tremendously."
The Veterans Action Coalition has resources to help veterans better understand their benefits.