United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington DC VA Medical Center

News Release

VA MEDICAL CENTER HOSTS "WELCOME HOME" CELEBRATION FOR RETURNING COMBAT VETERANS

June 9, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC will honor returning combat veterans with a unique outreach and education event on Saturday, June 14, 2008 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Welcome Home Celebration will be held on the hospital grounds at 50 Irving Street, NW, rain or shine.

The Welcome Home Celebration offers enrollment and eligibility services, health and mental health screenings, benefits advice and a wide variety of other services to military personnel and veterans residing in the metropolitan area who recently served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Global War on Terror (GWT) theaters of combat.

The program is designed to provide valuable information, education, and support that will assist combat veterans and their families in transitioning into civilian life. A wide range of community service agencies specializing in employment and housing assistance, vocational training, spiritual support, family counseling and recreation will be represented. These include: AmeriCorps, Troops for Teachers, University of the District of Columbia Upward Bound, Peoples Involvement Corps, Small Business Administration, Army Wounded Warrior, Access Housing and Team River Runners.

Organizers expect the Welcome Home Celebration to attract over 1200 combat veterans and their families, including combat veterans and active duty service personnel now receiving care at both Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. A Marine Corps Administrative Muster is scheduled to be held concurrently with the Welcome Home Celebration. Over 400 Marines are expected to participate in the Muster.

The Celebration will include music and entertainment for the families, a continental breakfast, snacks, a barbecue lunch, and many giveaways. Family friendly entertainment includes a moon bounce, clowns and balloon designers.

Local sponsors, veterans’ organizations, and volunteers joined together to form a community of support for his event and to "Welcome Home" military personnel. Sponsors include: WUSA TV9, Starbridge Media Group, Hot 99.5 FM Radio Station, 98.7 FM WMZQ Country Radio, Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS, the American Legion, Mama Lucia, Deliotte, Baltimore Best Party Entertainers, Atlanta Postal Workers Union, Quilts of Valor Foundation, and DC United.

This is the second year DCVAMC has hosted the event. Last year’s event was so successful, former Secretary of Veteran Affairs, R. James Nicholson directed VA hospitals nationwide to adopt the Welcome Home Celebration concept.

Information about the Welcome Home Celebration and a registration form are available on the Medical Center website, www.washingtondc.va.gov. OEF/OIF combat veterans and their families can show up on the day of the event to register, if they wish.