VA Secretary

Posted: August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Following is a joint statement by local Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter leaders and SVA’s Executive Director commending Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki for his leadership and desire to reform the VA:
"I am disheartened by recent criticisms of Secretary Shinseki, both in the media and by fellow veteran advocates,” said Michael Dakduk, Executive Director for Student Veterans of America. "Secretary Shinseki appears to be less focused on tweeting and more interested in addressing the problems that plague the VA, which he readily admits are unacceptable. Clearly, the Secretary is misunderstood by some of my peers in the veterans community.”
The Secretary has taken a more hands on approach to engaging with this generation of veterans. He has traveled the nation to meet them in the communities where they live.
Nichole Tovar, President of the SVA Chapter at The University of Alaska Anchorage, said, "I have had the opportunity to meet him personally on two occasions. I was pleasantly surprised that after meeting him in Alaska he remembered and mentioned me during his speech at the SVA National Leadership Summit [in Madison, WI]. He shows his support by personally meeting with young veterans and taking the time to attend community town-hall meetings and ceremonies. His words of encouragement will always stay with me.”
Josh Lang, Vice President of the SVA National Leadership Council and student veteran at Shippensburg University , acknowledged that the VA has issues. He stated, "The VA is far from perfect, but I know Secretary Shinseki is working hard to fix the issues in a system that has been broken for many years. I don’t think he sits in his office contemplating ways to delay benefits for veterans. I know he wants to fix the many issues within the VA.”
Tovar continued, "He is the type of leader that believes in being amongst his troops and communicating face to face with them. I am more impressed by a man in his position appearing at the SVA conferences than I would be by his office paying someone to keep up with a twitter account. Shaking hands with him while he stressed the importance of me completing my degree has more impact than a tweet. He shows his support through actions.”
Presently, SVA is working diligently with the VA to address the GI Bill backlog and the delays in the VA-Work Study program.
Dakduk concluded, "We believe that the best way to support all veterans and truly rectify the problems in the VA is to work with the Secretary. We offer solutions, not empty criticisms.”
[Source: SVA Notice 6 Jul 2012 ++]


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