Monday, October 29, 2012

National Commander Visits Western New York

National Cmdr James Koutz
Canandaigua, N.Y., Oct. 28 — During a visit Oct. 27 to the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz spoke about one of the biggest issues facing veterans: employment,  the Messenger Post reported.

“When they left, they had jobs,” he said. “When they come home, there are no jobs for them. We have got to make sure they’re taken care of.”

The American Legion assists veterans in finding jobs through job fairs, with over 200 held last year.

The national commander was making a swing through western New York Oct. 26-28, visiting the 6th, 7th and 8th Districts. He was accompanied by NY Department Commander Tim Van Patten and other state and district leaders.

The Messenger Post reported that Koutz also spoke on another issue facing veterans: the backlog of VA claims, which he said was nearing a million. Some claims, he said, have been around as long as five years. He said he believes reason for the backlog is a need for more employees in VA offices, and he would like to see more people hired.

“What that means to the community is money,” he said. “...It helps the economy, and it helps families.”

Koutz toured the medical center’s facilities, spoke with veterans and was briefed on Cadence Square, a supportive-housing complex for at-risk veterans and their families on the campus of the medical center. A groundbreaking was held Oct. 26 on the complex, which is scheduled to open in October 2013.

National Commander James Koutz with 6th District Commander Barbara Beebe and Department Commander Tim Van Patten.
Photos by Doug Malin