Tester announces details of Veterans Opportunity Workshop

Nov. 10 event will begin with a ‘Stand Down,’ donations welcome

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today announced more details of his Veterans Opportunity Workshop, which will take place at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls next Wednesday, November 10.

Montana Supporting Soldiers and Stand Down Great Falls will begin the day with Stand Down activities at 8 a.m.  Volunteers are seeking donations of clothing (especially warm clothing), non-perishable food, toiletries, blankets and sleeping bags to distribute to veterans in need.  A mobile flu clinic will be on site to administer flu shots to veterans.  Other volunteers will be available to offer resources on benefits and job opportunities to veterans.

Tester’s Veterans Opportunity Workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Heritage Inn (1700 Fox Farm Road).  The event will include the following presentations, all of which are free and open to the public:

9:00-9:40        Education Benefits: Understanding the 21st Century G.I. Bill

  • Brenda York, Montana State University Veterans Coordinator
  • Julie Rummel Montana State University-Great Falls
  • Aaron Pugh, VA Vocational Rehab Officer
  • Marie George, VA Chief Education Officer
  • Chris Sutherland, VA Education Representative for Montana

9:40-10:20      Jobs Skills: Job searches, interviews, training, resumes

  • Donald Watson, Deputy Regional Administrator, Veteran’s Employment and Training Services, US Department of Labor
  • Byron Erickson, State Director, Veterans Employment and Training Services, US Department of Labor
  • David Delaney, Disabled Veteran Outreach Program, Montana Deptartment of Labor
  • Jim Korth, Disabled Veteran Outreach Program, Montana Deptartment of Labor
  • David Berger, Veterans and Transition Assistance Program Director, Malmstrom Air Force Base
  • Mike Flaherty, Employee Support Guard and Reserve

10:20-11:00    Navigating the VA: Eligibility and health care

  • Robin Korogi, Director VA Montana
  • Eric Kettering, Missoula Vet Center
  • Koryn Arnold, Director Veterans Benefits Administration (Montana Regional Office)
  • Joe Foster, Montana Veterans Affairs Division 

11:00-11:40    “While They’re Gone”: Understanding services for families of deployed servicemembers

  • Colonel Jeff Ireland, Montana National Guard Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Holly Wick, Family Readiness Program Manager, Montana Air National Guard

The event will conclude with a discussion session during which Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will hear ideas from participants.

Tester is encouraging all Montana veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families to attend the workshop.  Events are open to all Montanans, but participants are asked to RSVP at tester.senate.gov/veterans or by calling Tester’s office toll-free at 866-554-4403.

Tester’s veterans team will also be on hand throughout the day to open new casework for any veterans seeking assistance.