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Empowering Those Who Serve Our Veterans

VSO Training at VA Bedford
VSO Training at VA Bedford

When Leanna Lynch organized an informational training day for Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) at the VA Bedford Healthcare System, her goal was to equip these advocates with the knowledge to better serve Veterans and their families.

As a U.S. Army Veteran herself and the Community Relations Specialist at VA Bedford, Lynch understands the importance of connecting Veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.

“We wanted to give VSOs an in-depth look at our programs and services so they can easily navigate resources with the Veterans they assist,” she explained.

The event drew VSOs from over 50 miles away, making it clear there was demand for this kind of specialized training. Attendees learned about critical programs like healthcare eligibility, suicide prevention, minority veteran support, and more.

“Hearing directly from the VA staff who run these programs was so valuable,” said Patrick George, USMC Veteran and President of the Massachusetts Veterans Service Officer Association (MVSOA). “It gives me more tools in my toolbox when I’m advising Veterans on their options.”

While most annual trainings for VSOs cover state benefits, Lynch ensured VA healthcare and services were the star of the day. Collaborating with Veterans Benefits Administration and National Cemetery Administration staff to present as well rounded an education as possible.

“Exceptional and enlightening,” is how USMC Veteran Al Yee described it.

Now in its second year, VA Bedford’s VSO training initiative continues under Lynch’s dedicated leadership. By keeping local VSOs up-to-date on resources and equipping them to serve as guides, she is empowering advocates and establishing meaningful connections with Veterans.

“My job is to help Veterans make informed decisions about their health and future,” George said. “Trainings like this one make all the difference.”