WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, today applauded the announcement that VA will be adding 60 new staff members to existing Vet Centers across the country, with the Vet Centers on Maui and Honolulu each receiving one additional counselor.
Senator Akaka has worked for years to draw attention to the importance of Vet Centers for veterans and their families. His legislation, the Vet Center Enhancement Act of 2005, became law last year and expanded resources and programs for these store-front counseling and assistance centers.
"Vet Centers are extremely critical for our country's servicemembers as they transition from military to civilian life, and the addition of staff to the Vet Centers in Honolulu and Maui will allow more veterans to get the help and counseling that they need," Senator Akaka said.
Vet Centers are community-based service centers staffed by highly qualified professionals. At present, there are 209 Vet Centers, with 23 more slated to open within the next two years. The services include: individual and group counseling, family/marital counseling, sexual trauma counseling, substance abuse counseling, vocational and employment assistance, VA claims and benefits information, help for homeless veterans, and social service and health care referrals.
Along with the announcement of the new counselors, Senator Akaka was pleased to learn that Steve Molnar, team leader of the Vet Center in Honolulu, has been named as a Co-Chairman of VA's Special Committee on PTSD, which reports to Congress.
Senator Akaka said, "This is a tremendous honor, and his appointment reflects his vast knowledge of the disorder. I am thrilled that one of our own will be helping shape VA policy on how best to care for veterans suffering from PTSD."
February 27, 2007