By Staff Sgt. Nazly Confesor (First Army)November 18, 2015
Lt. Gen. Michael Tucker, First Army commanding general, visited two Veterans Affairs facilities in the Quad Cities area, Nov. 9 and 10.
In his first stop, Tucker went to the Quad Cities Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Bettendorf, Iowa, Nov. 9. Andrea Moen, the clinic's primary care administrator, and Jennifer Hughes, a registered nurse, escorted him and explained the clinic's services.
During the tour, Tucker spoke with registered nurses, mental health case managers, physicians and medical technicians and explored the clinic's amenities.
"We showed Lt. Gen. Tucker the use of our Telehealth System. He was fascinated with what this system offers to veterans," Moen said.
The VA's Telehealth System is a videoconferencing-based program that allows veterans to link up with specialized physicians and other medical professionals in the Iowa City VA Medical center.
"Veterans can see their physicians without having to drive to Iowa City," Moen said. "It makes the visits run more smoothly for them. We can do an X-ray here, and the doctor in Iowa City can look at it through the videoconference call and interact with the veteran."
The system has been in place for the past five years and veterans are quite comfortable using it, she added.
Tucker said the visit helped him better understand what the VA has to offer to veterans in the Quad Cities area. He presented a First Army challenge coin to the clinic's lead physician, Dr. Ananda Reddy, and Moen for their outstanding work and dedication.
Tucker, who is concerned with homelessness in the veteran community, visited the VA Homeless Outreach Center in Rock Island, Illinois, Nov. 10.
Sarah Oliver, the homeless program coordinator, showed Tucker the services the center offers to homeless veterans.
"This Outreach Center provides a laundry facility, a food pantry, shower facilities and clothing, while we help a veteran find a place to stay in the local homeless shelters. We work closely with our community-based partners to make sure they have a bed to rest on," Oliver said.
Transitional housing partners, including Humility of Mary and Christian Care and Goodwill of the Heartland, provide shelter and employment support to men and women veterans in the Quad Cities area, she added.
The mission of the VA Homeless Outreach Center is to engage with, support and provide resources such as employment and resume building to veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
About 190 veterans came through this outreach center in September, said Amber Duncan, a medical support assistant.
Tucker praised the hard work and dedication of the outreach center's social workers as he stopped and talked with them about the problem of veteran homelessness.
For the past 10 years, Oliver has been working tirelessly to make sure veterans are getting the services they need in the Quad Cities area.
"These men and women who work at this outreach center work so hard and dedicate their lives in making sure veterans are not left alone. They need to be recognized," Tucker said.
At the Outreach Center, Tucker spoke with Daniel Drehoble, a Navy veteran and volunteer at the facility. Tucker gave him a First Army challenge coin for his dedication to the center.
Drehoble, who comes to the Outreach Center daily to organize the clothing room, recently moved into an apartment.
"I enjoy coming to this center. It gives me pleasure to help other veterans out by organizing the closet so they can find the items they need," Drehoble said. "These workers helped me find a home and I want to give back, hence that is why I come to help them out."