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UMA’s Maine State Forum Series presents Accessing VA Benefits: What you need to know

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In honor of Veterans’ week, the University of Maine at Augusta’s Office of Military and Veterans’ Services and the Maine State Forum will jointly host a panel discussion on Accessing VA Benefits: What you need to know on Wednesday, November 7, from noon to 1:30 pm at UMA’s Jewett Auditorium, Augusta campus. The series is free and open to the public.  The panel of VA benefits experts includes the following speakers.

Jim Doherty is the Staff Assistant to the Center Director at the VA Maine Healthcare System.  Jim acts as a liaison with veterans, Veteran Service Organizations, congressional offices, community partners and the general public.

Patrick Crowley is the Public Affairs Officer and Change Management Agent for the Regional Office in Togus. The Regional Office processes disability compensation claims and assists Veterans with vocational rehabilitation and employment services.

LaRhonda Harris, R.N. is the Women Veterans Program Manager, VA Maine HCS. She works to improve women’s health services, she serves as a resource for Veteran women in the community, and she is the leader of the facilities women’s health program.

Jim Christie is the Community Outreach Specialist for Maine and New Hampshire and a UMA alumnus. He educates and advocates for Veterans and assists them in obtaining benefits.

Joleen Lilley, LCSW is the VA Maine Program Manager of the Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn Post 911 Transition and Care Management Services Team.  In this role, she additionally serves as the VA liaison to the Maine Army/Air National Guard, the Maine Vet Centers, and Dept. of Defense Transitional Care Team.

Nancy Gillespie is the Outreach Specialist for the Lewiston Vet Center. An Army Veteran herself, she is passionate about supporting other Veterans. She holds regular hours in Lewiston, Augusta, Brunswick, and Rockland to answer Vet Center questions and referrals to both VA programs and community Veteran opportunities.

Amy Line is UMA’s Director of Military and Veteran Services and a UMA Alumna.  She is instrumental in helping Veterans navigate their college experience from their first day right through graduation.

The panel will discuss benefits available for Veterans including educational, medical, and other services.  A question and answer period will follow the presentation. Veterans, active military, and their family members are encouraged to meet with the panelists after the event.

These wooden seals representing the 5 branches of service are displayed in the Veterans Academic Center at UMA.
These wooden seals representing the 5 branches of service are displayed in the Veterans Academic Center at UMA.

The Maine State Forum invites prominent Maine policymakers to speak at the University of Maine at Augusta on topics of interest to the Maine community. The Forum is in its second year of bringing speakers, the UMA community, and the public together to meet and discuss topics in the news that affect the lives of Maine residents.