March 2014

Ann Arbor Veterans Council

Meeting: April 22, 2014 Time: 10:30 – Noon Room: 728

Minutes for March meeting and AGENDA


Guest Speakers: Dr. Singh (Associate Director) and Stacey Breedveld (Associate Director Patient Care Services). Two concerns have been brought to the attention of hospital leadership: 1. Patients have been seen outside in the coldweather; and, 2. Some of these patients are smoking. Freezing temperatures and snow make this a safety issue and smoking is not permitted for Veterans receiving in-patient care. The medical Center leadership has a goal to get in-patients healthy as quickly as possible so they can be returned to their normal lives. Also, it is the responsibility of leadership to make sure the environment is safe. Veterans receiving in-patient care are not safe when they go outside even when the weather is not an issue; and, smoking is not healthy. The Medical Center received many complaints about the “gauntlet” of smokers near the entrances so smoking was restricted in all areas except two smoke shelters and in-patients are not permitted to smoke because of health concerns. Smoke cessation programs were started to help Veterans and VA Staff stop smoking. Council Members gave input on these two policies: keeping in-patients inside the hospital and the smoking restrictions. There will be an addendum to the current in-patient policy. Tobacco products will be prohibited in treatment areas for in-patient care. This rule will apply to Veterans, staff, and visitors. Council will have the opportunity to review the statement during our next meeting. Council formally voted to approve and support

Linda H. said 20 Veterans and one spouse participated in the “Listening Post” event held in Toledo this month. It went really well; good feedback. Some of the main topics: asking for the restart of a support group for OEF/OIF Veterans; case workers for Vietnam Vets; improving the way phone call messages are returned; some individual issues will be attended to for each Vet. “Listening Post” events will be done quarterly and rotate to include Flint and Jackson. A Hoptel focus group will address the renovation process; 5 North will be the temporary Hoptel location.

Kirk L. asked Members to think about access to the new website and what content should be on it. Start with our brochure and meeting minutes. He and his father, Bill, introduced a new program they are starting: “Veteran Vocational Education & Training” to help Vets expand their skills for personal and career satisfaction and success. Council was given information sheets. 501 (c) (3) approval is pending; they have “soft commitments” from supporters: Nikon, Adobe, B&H Photo, Apple Computer, Ford Motor, Kline and Ridgid Tools. The first training will be “Mastering Digital Photography.” The main goal is to provide free training, equipment, and tools to Veterans; this will help them assimilate into non-military life. OEF/OIF Vets are the main focus but all Vets are welcome. Please call Kirk for more information and/or to give him suggestions: (248) 880-2878

Felicia W. said the Flint newspaper has contacted her about doing an article about Vet-to-Vet for Women.

Lori Y. said the Women’s Anger Management Group has stared but there are difficulties because participants must go through Primary Care to get a referral to Mental Health so they can be diagnosed as a Vet with anger problems.

Mark L. said Michael Smith (Director, Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs) will be our Guest Speaker during our April 22 meeting. He also told us about the rollout of the new “Veterans Health Identification Card” – For more information: or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387)



Guest Speakers: Start with Michael Smith (Director, Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs) “BENEFITS” and then at 11:30am Micki Wheaton (Patient Health Education Coordinator) “Veteran Reviewers of patient education materials”


Presentation timing will affect agenda timing.

1. Preliminary activities: Sign-in Sheet, Minutes acceptance, New Members.

2. Linda’s Update.

3. Review tobacco products restriction addendum.

4. Other Thoughts, Topics, Comments, Suggestions.


Please mark your calendar – Our next Council meeting will be May 27, 2014, Tuesday, 10:30 – Noon in Room 728.



Terry Keck, Gary Bourdeau, Don Behm, Ed Roberts, Joe Riedy, Ryan Christman, Paul Jingozian, Maurice Warren, Jim Keith, Lori Young, Erik Cuolahan, Felicia West, Mark Lyubkin, Frank Kimberlin, Ron Lamirand, Brian Rounsifer, Greg Poulos, John Branstetter, Mark Lindke, Teresa Kamphorst, Linda Harrison, Billie Whittaker, Vicki Dawson, Derek Atkinson, C. Beau Nelson, Lloyd Suter, Bruce Schultz, Larry Blanchard, Bob Board, Jon Luker, Rick Donley, Asuki ONeill, Alex Beach, Ray Pasquantonio, Kirk Lanam, Rudy Beegen