Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Crittenden County Veterans Fair provides valuable service

Health care, benefit services available for former service men and women

American Legion Post 53 Over 300 Veterans attended the Crittenden County Veterans Fair held at First United Methodist Church in West Memphis on Friday. The event was sponsored by the American Legion, First United Methodist Church, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Memphis VA Suicide Prevention Task Force.

The Veterans Fair featured a “one-stop shop” for Veterans seeking to file service connected disability claims or enroll for VA healthcare.

More than 20 Veterans were able to file service disability claims and 10 Veterans enrolled for VA healthcare. Guest speakers for the event included Gina Chandler, Assistant Director of Arkansas Veterans Affairs, Michael Westergren, Department of Arkansas Commander of the American Legion, Jim Fiveash, Commander, American Legion Post 53 West Memphis, Mary Ann Parker, Director of Birdseye Veterans Cemetery and Renee Brown, Section Chief Mental Health, Memphis VA Medical Center.

Several VA clinics also attended including the Women's clinic, Suicide Prevention, Transitional Care Management, the Business Office and the Homeless Department.

Other organizations attending included Midsouth Canines for Vets, Alpha Omega, Hope Church Veterans Ministry and Regions Bank.

The American Legion emphasized the importance of membership in protecting and advocating for Veterans Benefits.

“If you served during wartime whether it was overseas or in a combat zone, you are eligible for the American Legion,” said Legion Post 53 Comman- der Jim Fiveash. “There are over 3,500 Veterans in Crittenden County and we only have approximately 100 members in good standing.”

During the ceremony, Fiveash described how increased membership also enables the American Legion to fund scholarships and American Legion programs such as Boys State, Girls State and American Legion Baseball.

Fiveash closed by adding, “Our goal at the American Legion is to support the four pillars of the American Legion including Veterans Rehabilitation and Disability, National Security, Americanism and Children and Youth. By accomplishing these goals and working together with our new community partners, we can make our community a better and safer place to


By Patrick Kennedy