Caleb S. Cage: The year ahead in Veterans Services
I recently wrote about the many successes within the veteran community during the course of the last calendar year. I am proud of the many accomplishments that were achieved by the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, and the broader veteran community over the last year, and, through out efforts and the efforts and others, and I know that there is plenty of room to grow for the upcoming year. In fact, because of the hard work that has been done to date, I’m certain that 2013 will provide even more opportunities to improve on every level. Most prominent in all of our minds right now is the upcoming legislative session. The Nevada Office of Veterans Services has been developing our legislative initiatives since early last year. We have done this mainly through conducting various outreach events throughout the state, but also through working closely with legislators and Governor Sandoval’s office to ensure that we were able to accomplish everything we could in the next session. Just this last weekend, in fact, we met with many leaders within the veteran community to update them on our work to date at the Veterans Legislative a Summit in Tonopah. Like the legislative symposium in Tonopah in May of last year, this recent event was a spirited discussion, and one that was also very helpful. As the governor announces his legislative agenda this week during his State of the State Address, and during the legislative session that follows, I know that this is going to be a good and productive year for veterans’ issues.In addition to our legislative efforts, I am also looking forward to carrying the Green Zone Initiative into the new year and into its second phase. As I have written about in the past, the Green Zone Initiative is our effort to improve the coordination and delivery of services to veterans and their families and is based on multiple events to gather best practices, priorities, and opportunities through the state. In 2013, we will continue our and community engagements and our work with the veteran community so we can activate our plan as effectively as possible. This year we also will be unveiling our statewide social networking site for the veteran community. This site will largely serve as the first step toward setting the Green Zone Initiative into motion. The first glimpse of this site will be available online this week at http://www.greenzonenetwork.org, and you can sign up to learn more and to participate in its development. I really do believe that this will be a significant part of our effort to implement our strategic initiative, and it will greatly enhance our ability to reach out veterans from all across the state, and in reality, all around the world.With these two efforts in place this year, the Governor’s Interagency Council on Veterans Affairs will continue to meet and work toward its stated objectives. In 2013, this council will continue to work toward prioritizing the needs of Nevada’s veterans, and work toward streamlining the delivery of services throughout the state. We have been making great progress to date in laying the foundation for our future efforts, and I know that we are all anxious to start building on that foundation this year. We anticipate all of this progress in addition to our existing and ongoing agency services. We remain focused on continuing to deliver the remarkable service, support, and honors that our veterans and their families are accustomed to through our memorial cemeteries, our nursing home, and our service officer program. We worked hard last year to improve our programs and this year will be a year of continued implementation and improvement. I’m very proud of the work that our teams do in all three of these services, and proud of the continued commitment to Nevadans veterans and there families that shows so well through the quality of their service.This year is going to be remarkable in many ways. We are going to expand our outreach and coordination efforts, increase the delivery of services to veterans, and continue to improve our efforts at our cemeteries, our nursing home, and the veteran advocacy and support team. I’m proud of where are hard work has brought us this year and I’m looking forward to the work we have ahead of us. • Caleb S. Cage is the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. You can read his blog at http://veterans.nv.gov/blog.