VA to hold welcome home event in Richland

Tri-City HeraldAugust 16, 2013 

The Walla Walla Veterans Affairs Medical Center will offer its second Welcome Home event for the first time in the Tri-Cities.

Featuring information on programs for returning service members, as well as specific information for veterans who are women or homeless, the event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 23 at Columbia Point Marina Park, 660 Columbia Point Drive in Richland.

There will be a brief opening ceremony at 10 a.m featuring keynote speaker Lourdes "Alfie" Alvarado-Ramos, director of Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

She served 22 years in the service, ending her active duty military career in 1993 as command sergeant major of Madigan Army Medical Center and Troop Command, Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Other information will be available at the event on programs including voluntary services, prosthetics and veterans benefits. Free blood pressure checks also will be available.

The event, which is open to all veterans served by the Walla Walla VA and their families, was set up to make sure that veterans are connected to community agencies, VA spokeswoman Linda Wondra said.

"It is basically something to help our veterans who have recently come back and other veterans to make sure they are aware of all the services available to them," she said.

The Columbia Basin Veterans Coalition is sponsoring the event. Wondra said the group paid for the insurance at the park.

A complimentary lunch is being provided by Walla Walla VA's Voluntary Service Department and Walla Walla Elks Lodge #287.

The event also will feature games and face painting for kids, prize drawings, free food and music from Nichole Squared. Wondra said it was moved to Richland this year after the VA held it on the Walla Walla campus in 2012.

Call Mary Gordon at 509-525-5200, extension 22671 for more information.

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