Alfonso Batres has spent nearly three decades working with the community-based Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Readjustment Counseling Vet Centers, starting in the field offices and heading the national program since 1994. The program, which provides counseling, family services, job assistance, medical and benefit referrals, has expanded from 200 to 300 centers in the last six years, and added 50 mobile units to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of combat veterans. Batres is the 2011 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals Career Achievement medal recipient.
What is your approach to helping combat veterans and their families?
Vet Centers provide a safe confidential environment where combat veterans and their families can receive prompt professional services. Many of our Vet Center staff are veterans themselves and understand and appreciate the veteran’s service to country. We are the main access point for many veterans to overcome the barriers that stigma and bureaucracy can present. We also will travel to where the veterans are and provide outreach in or near their communities. We understand what the veterans have gone through and offer veteran centric care in a personal fashion in a cost effective fashion.
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