by Dennis Dalman – firstname.lastname@example.org
A national American Legion task force will take comments from women military veterans at a “Women Veterans Town Hall” meeting from 6-7 p.m. Monday, April 15 at the American Legion Club in Sauk Rapids.
Any women veterans in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting to share their thoughts and feelings, both pro and con about medical services they have received. Men veterans may also attend the meeting.
What is needed are comments from the veterans about the quality of care they have received from Veterans Administration medical centers, in St. Cloud or elsewhere. The committee gathering testimony is known as the “System Worth Saving Task Force.” It was created in 2003 to evaluate the quality of care at VA facilities throughout the nation. The task force interviews veterans far and wide. After all of the visits and interviews, the force will compile a detailed report this fall after their visits to 15 cities where there are VA medical centers. After they are through, the conclusions and recommendations will then be shared at the U.S. Congress’s veterans affairs committees and with the president.
After the April 15 meeting in Sauk Rapids, the task force will spend time at the St. Cloud Veterans Administration Medical Center interviewing veterans there.
The task force goes through that process every year, but this year it will concentrate mainly on the kinds and quality of care women veterans have been receiving.
The task force’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of care for all veterans in the nation.
Phil Ringstrom of Sartell is keenly interested in the task force’s work, and he will be present during the meeting in Sauk Rapids. Ringstrom is chairman of the American Legion’s Department of Minnesota Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee. Recently, he returned from Washington, D.C. where he and other Minnesotans were lobbying on behalf of veterans’ needs.
There are five veterans on the Rehabilitation Committee, including Ringstrom, two men and two women from throughout Minnesota. The committee members will join the national task force during its visit to the St. Cloud VA Medical Center April 15.
“We’ll be there mainly as observers,” Ringstrom said.
Ringstrom is encouraging women veterans, of whatever age or years of military service, to attend the Sauk Rapids meeting. The Sauk Rapids American Legion is located at 415 Benton Drive N.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.