WDVA e-News July 2022

JULY 2022

988 Suicide and Crisis Prevention number

New 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Support Hotline Unveiled in Wisconsin

WDVA Secretary Mary Kolar joined Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake at TDS Headquarters in Middleton on July 15 unveiling the new 988 number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It went live on all phones and devices on Saturday, July 16. 

"As a population, veterans are particularly vulnerable to a mental health crisis," said Kolar. She often hears fellow veterans share one personal sentiment in particular. "Of the men and women who served with me, I’ve lost more to suicide than to combat."

988 will replace the existing 10-digit National Suicide phone number. Experts say a phone number that’s easier to remember will save lives and help far more people who need immediate access to help in a crisis.   

There is a special option for veterans – veterans can now dial 988, then 1, to connect to the Veterans Crisis Line (988+1). Veterans having thoughts of suicide, a mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress can dial this number and be connected to counselors trained to work with veterans. These counselors will listen, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary. Anyone can dial 988+1 if they are worried about a veteran who may need crisis support.

If you or a veteran you know is in a crisis, help is available right now. Call 988 or 988+1 and get the compassionate help you need today. 

More information on the new number can be found here at 988lifeline.org.

Dorothy Waltenburger turning 100 at Union Grove Home

WDVA Veterans Home at Union Grove Celebrates with a 'Centenarian Party'

Our Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove celebrated four of our special members with a Centenarian Birthday Party on Wednesday, July 6.

Joined by their loved ones, friends, and our skilled care staff, they celebrated their veterans looking fabulous at 100 who included Dorothy Waltenberger, Dorothy Davis (who turned 101 on July 10), Emil Tenuta, and Lenny Yow.

All enjoyed a special catered lunch, ice cream, and piano music. Congratulations to all and WDVA is happy to celebrate you at our Home!

*Pictured is Dorothy Waltenburger with her visiting family. View more pictures on our Facebook page here.

Chris Kolakowski WVM director at WI Am Legion State Convention 7.16.22

WDVA Secretary Kolar addresses

103rd American Legion State Convention in Green Bay

The Wisconsin American Legion held their 103rd State Convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention Center in Green Bay last week. 

WDVA Secretary Mary Kolar gave two keynote speeches with updates on Department priorities to Legionnaires and the American Legion Auxiliary members on Saturday, July 16. She also took time to answer questions from the attendees after each speech. 

Another featured speaker was Chris Kolakowski, Director, Wisconsin Veterans Museum (pictured above) speaking to attendees at the convention.

More information on the Wisconsin Veterans Museum can be found here.

Debbie Meye Region 5 VORP Coordinator

VORP Spotlight:

Debbie Meye

Meet Debbie Meye, Coordinator for Region 5 of WDVA’s Veteran Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP). 

Region 5 of VORP consists of the counties of Florence, Forest, Langland, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oneida, Price, and Vilas.

"I feel rewarded in my position when seeing the relief on their faces and hearing the relief in their voices when they have struggled to find resources to better their lives or overcome barriers," says Debbie. 

Before working at WDVA, she previously worked for Supportive Service for Veteran and Families (SSVF).

Helping those need is what motivates her at VORP and the community she lives in. "I enjoy helping people. I also serve as the safety officer on my local fire department and I am involved with my community," she says.  

Debbie has veterans in her family as well. She feels strongly that every veteran she helps deserves the chance to achieve their personal goals and live well.

Debbie can be reached at: 715.401.4821 Debbie.meye@dva.wi.gov


Tribal Header, SPF 2022

Tribal Veteran Suicide Prevention Forum - August 11

Join the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, August 11, in Green Bay, for a mental health and suicide prevention forum involving suicide prevention training and discussions on tribal veteran needs and substance use. Registration is free.

This Combating Veteran Suicide forum focuses on providing community members, social workers, mental health providers, law enforcement, and veteran advocates with trainings and tools to help when a veteran is in need of assistance.

Sessions have been designed to help attendees understand the needs of tribal members within the veteran community. Please join us! 

Register HERE today!


Nursing Positions Available

Now Hiring Nurses & Skilled Care Staff at Veterans Homes

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs has many available employment opportunities at all levels of our department. We are looking for talented individuals to join our WDVA team near where you live! 

Additionally, our Wisconsin Veterans Homes at Chippewa Falls, King, and Union Grove also have many open positions. This includes nurses, CNA, and LPN openings that also have a $2,000 hiring bonus for qualified applicants.

Our Homes also have many other positions for supportive services including administrative, housekeeping, maintenance, food service, and groundskeepers. Apply today!

Take a look at these and other opportunities for you to serve Wisconsin veterans. VIEW OPENINGS HERE!