WDVA Newsletter May 2023 Issue

MAY 2023

WDVA E-news Header image - March 2023
Sec JB with WI state reps James Edming Katrina Shankland and Al Labelle DAV

Secretary-designee Bond speaks at the Annual Legislative Veterans

Day at the State Capitol Rotunda

On Wednesday, April 26, Secretary-designee James Bond joined Governor Tony Evers and hundreds of veterans from Wisconsin's large veteran service organizations for a Legislative Veterans Day at the Wisconsin State Capitol to urge our elected officials to act on their behalf. The leadership and members of Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and AMVETS of Wisconsin, were all there to speak in collective support of annual issues and budget priorities important to veterans. 

This special event included keynote remarks by Secretary Bond, Governor Evers, speeches from State Senators and Assembly Representatives of both parties, and representatives of several veteran service organizations in attendance. 

Following formal remarks, many of the veterans met with their elected representatives in the State Capitol to encourage their support of pending veteran legislation in the proposed state budget. 

*Pictured, Left to Right: Representative James Edming, 87th Assembly District; WDVA Secretary-designee James Bond; Representative Katrina Shankland, 71st Assembly District; and Al Labelle, DAV. 

WDVA mental health grants May 2023

Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Organization Grants Now Open!

Applications are now open for the Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Organization Grant through the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). The grant is open to nonprofits that promote positive mental health through activities, programs, and services that enhance the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of Wisconsin veterans. Each organization can receive up to $50,000.

All applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. For all information regarding eligibility requirements and how to apply, please visit our grants website.

WDVA memorial day 2023 image2

2023 Memorial Day Ceremonies at WDVA Cemeteries

WDVA will be holding Memorial Day Weekend ceremonies at our three veteran memorial cemeteries located in King, Spooner, and Union Grove. You are invited to join veterans and their families in honoring the service and sacrifices of those who bravely fought for our country. This year's Memorial Day theme is "175 Years of Wisconsin Service & Sacrifice."

Memorial Day Ceremony Dates, Times, & Locations:

• Saturday, May 27 – 1:00 p.m. – Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Spooner, WI

• Sunday, May 28 – 11:00 a.m. – Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Union Grove, WI

• Monday, May 29 – 10:00 a.m. – Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, King, WI

Volunteers are also requested to assist with placing flags on headstones and grave markers in advance of Memorial Day events at our cemeteries. Please refer to the following directions, dates, and times regarding any interested volunteers for flag placement:

Northern - Friday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m. - Volunteers should register in advance at nwvmc@dva.wisconsin.gov or call (715) 635-5360. 

Central - Friday, May 26 at 5:00 p.m. No pre-registration needed. Volunteers should meet in our main shelter area for directions.

Southern - Saturday, May 27 - Volunteers should arrive at 7:30 a.m. No pre-registration required. There will be a briefing at 8:00 a.m. at the main administration building. It is recommended that volunteers should bring their own tool for poking holes in the ground for flags (example: screwdriver). If you have questions, please contact: Marina, marina.johnstone@dva.wisconsin.gov or call (262) 878-5660

More information about our three WDVA veteran memorial cemeteries, can be found here.

Melissa Doud - Tribal Veteran Liaison WDVA

Welcome Melissa Doud - WDVA's New Tribal Veteran Liaison

Please join us in welcoming Melissa Doud as our new Tribal Liaison for WDVA! She started her role on Monday, April 24, and as Tribal Liaison she will be responsible for outreach to tribal veterans and veterans' representatives and bringing suggestions, questions, and concerns from the tribal veteran community back to WDVA.

Melissa is a proud member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin. She is a 20-year Army veteran and has been to various duty stations around the world, including a tour in Iraq.  

Her previous professional experience includes positions with Chippewa Valley Bank, the Lac du Flambeau Business Development Corporation, and Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) where she recently served as the Program Director for the Wisconsin Native American Tobacco Network (WNATN). She successfully built a network of WNATN representatives from various Tribes in Wisconsin through her leadership and engagement. 

Melissa is involved in her local veteran group activities and regularly connects with Tribal veterans throughout Wisconsin at cultural events. She has 5 children, one grandson, and one granddaughter. She enjoys dancing at pow-wows, practicing her culture, hunting, fishing, hiking, traveling, and sewing. Welcome Melissa! 

She can be reached at: melissa.doud1@dva.wisconsin.gov, or 715-492-1595.

Military Appreciation Month 2023

WDVA Celebrates National Military Appreciation Month

WDVA expresses our collective appreciation to all those currently serving and those veterans and their families who have served our country during National Military Appreciation Month in May. 

Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the chance to publicly show their appreciation for all servicemembers past and present.

May is Mental HEalth Awarness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is also National Mental Health Awareness Month. WDVA is committed to serving the needs of Wisconsin veterans through our Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP), Veterans Housing and Recovery Program (VHRP), and through our many local and regional partnerships with mental health resources in all 72 counties in our state.

If you know of a veteran who is dealing with a personal crisis, please call the Veteran Crisis Line at 988, then press 1, to be connected with confidential, compassionate, and professional help today. 


veteran crisis line image
Isaac spencer correct photo VORP

Meet Isaac Spencer, This Month's VORP Spotlight

Say hello to Isaac Spencer, Outreach Coordinator for Region 12 of WDVA's Veteran Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP). Region 12 includes the counties of Adams, Columbia, Dodge, Green Lake, and Marquette. He joined WDVA in early April.

Isacc finds his motivation comes from years of working in conjunction with members of the community in my past roles. "I believe everyone needs a hand up at a certain time in their lives," says Isaac. "The veteran population is very deserving of our assistance, and I believe I can help them reach their goals!"

One of the most rewarding aspects of his role is seeing veterans succeed. "The most rewarding part of helping veterans is seeing the change that impacts all parts of their lives," he says. "There is a sense of accomplishment and pride when you’re part of the change."

While Isaac is not a veteran, his father, Jon, is an Army veteran with deployments to Germany from1982-84 and served in the Army Reserves until 1993.

Isaac can be reached at 608.590.6137 or isaac.spencer1@dva.wi.gov. 


VORP job opening

Start a Career with WDVA Today!

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

Featured job opening this month is for an outreach coordinator for our Veteran Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP).

Great opportunities also exist at all levels around our state 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!