WDVA e-News February 2023 Issue


VORP success Jim Larson w James Bond Cal Stammer 2.15.23

 State Budget Increases to Benefit Veteran Services

DVA was well represented at Governor Tony Evers budget address at the State Capitol last week. In addition to Secretary-designee James Bond, special guests included Jim Larson, a veteran and a successful graduate of WDVA’s Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP), and VORP Program Supervisor Cal Stammer. The budget announcement highlights a massive investment in Wisconsin veterans.

The Governor’s proposed 2023-25 biennial budget includes an expansion of WDVA services such as VORP and more tax relief for disabled veterans. The increased financial support will allow WDVA to help more struggling Wisconsin veterans like Jim Larson succeed in overcoming homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, mental health struggles, and prevent more veteran suicides.  

These additional biennial budgetary investments build upon the recommendations by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity from late last year that included an initial infusion of $10 million dollars in support of our state’s veterans.

Highlights of specific items in the new 2023-25 biennial budget for WDVA include:

  • Expanding the Veteran Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP) by 7 full time positions and with funding to provide increased outreach mental health services to veterans, substance recovery, lower the suicide rate among veterans, housing, and other services.
  • An expansion of opportunities at all existing sites of the Veterans Housing and Recovery Program (VHRP).
  • Providing funding to all three state veterans homes to address their ongoing needs so that each home has adequate resources and staffing to provide the best possible care to the most vulnerable veterans in Wisconsin.
  • Increasing eligibility for the Veterans and Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit by extending eligibility to those with a disability rating of at least 70 percent.

All details and a full list of items included in the Governor’s budget benefiting Wisconsin veterans can be found here.

*Pictured: Secretary-designee James Bond, veteran Jim Larson, and VORP program supervisor Cal Stammer.

New Deputy Secretary and Asst Dep Sec for WDVA 2.20.23

WDVA Welcomes Christopher McElgunn and Joseph Hoey

WDVA welcomes new Deputy Secretary Christopher McElgunn and Assistant Deputy Secretary Joseph Hoey! Both began their tenure with WDVA earlier this month.   

Please view the WDVA Executive Leadership Team page to view their full bios.

Photos from Valentine delivery to Homes 2.14.23

Astounding Response to 'Valentines for Veterans' 

WDVA's outreach team was excited to carry out the mission of making this Valentine’s Day special. This year the Department asked the public to send in “Valentines for Veterans” on social media, and the response was astounding. Nearly 20,000 valentines were received to deliver to members at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes in Chippewa Falls, King, and Union Grove.  

More than 700 individuals and families mailed in cards, and about 200 organizations and schools took the time to write a kind message, draw original artwork, and craft projects. The Department received cards from all over the country, including as far away as Alaska, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to make or write cards for our veterans and mailed them,” said Shannon Miller, Marketing and Outreach Program Supervisor at WDVA. “It was wonderful to see how much it meant to each member who received these valentines and the joy and smiles on their faces as they read them. These small acts of kindness truly mean the world to our veterans."

Pictures from our Valentine's for Veterans can be found on our WDVA Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Black History Month Image

WDVA Celebrates Black History Month

WDVA honors and remembers the significant contributions of Black veterans to our nation and our state during Black History Month. We are grateful for their service and for all those currently serving.

WDVA encourages everyone to discover veteran stories, contributions, and sacrifices of Wisconsin's Black veterans through visiting our Wisconsin Veterans Museum.   

WDVA is committed to serving our state's veteran community, including Black veterans, in accessing their eligible benefits, services, and claims by calling 1-800-WIS-VETS or wisvets.com.

Women Veteran Retreat Save the Date 2023

Women Veterans Retreat is June 2 & 3 Save the Date!

Save the date! WDVA is excited to partner once again with our friends at Trinity Equestrian Center in Eau Claire, WI.

All registration information and event details will be available after March 1, 2023 on wisvets.com and our social media pages. 

Cal Stammer VORP in Army photo

VORP Spotlight:

Cal Stammer

Meet Cal Stammer, Program Supervisor for WDVA’s Veteran Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP). 

Cal has been with the Department for 8 years and is currently one of two program supervisors that coordinates VORP efforts across Wisconsin. 

His most rewarding part of working with VORP is seeing veterans, and those that are still serving in the guard or reserves, achieve their goals in life with the assistance of the WDVA and partner agencies.

"I work in VORP because I served with so many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that are struggling since they left the military," says Stammer. "It motivates me to assist veterans around the state who are also struggling with their mental health." 

His motivation is also personal after the loss of his uncle, also a veteran, to suicide while Cal was deployed in Iraq. 

"The VORP program did not exist at that time, and his death deeply affected our family," he says. "I can't help but think he would have benefited from VORP and the solid support network we have in place today."

Besides leading his team at VORP, Cal enjoys teaching classes to groups, veterans, and families around the state about Question Persuade Refer (QPR), suicide prevention tools, and other resources.

Cal is a veteran of the Army and served from 2008-2012 with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Cal can be reached at: 608.733.1791, or Calvin.Stammer@dva.wi.gov 

WDVA Job Opportunities Now Hiring 2023

We Are Hiring

Join Our WDVA Team!

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is hiring for multiple career opportunities at all levels of our department - from administrative positions to our skilled care facilities. We are always looking for talented individuals to join our WDVA team near where you live! 

Great opportunities exist at all levels to start a new, rewarding career in service of our state's veteran community! 

Take a look at all available job openings for you to serve Wisconsin veterans. VIEW OPENINGS HERE!