Sandy Thomas receives Certificate of Honor Blue Star Pin

July 18, 2017 Alcoa, Tennessee

Richard Presley, member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10855 in Alcoa,  invited Vet to Vet Tennessee (V2VT) to honor and present the Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC) Certificate of Honor and NEW VWC Blue Star lapel pin for three spouse whose veteran died after their return from Vietnam.

This event marked another milestone for V2VT.  The first milestone that evening:

  1. Recognizing and presenting the NEW Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration Surviving Spouse Blue Star Lapel pin.  Partners of the DOD have been waiting for the distribution since October 2016.
  2. The first blue star pin was awarded to Sandy Thomas!  Sandy’s husband George Thomas, was a Vietnam Veteran and one of the original 23 members of the PTSD work group.  George was the first member of the work group to pass.  Because of his dedication to his country, family and the group, his continued service & sacrifice, his faith and leadership, the group was renamed in George’s honor.  The new name was the Legacy Peer Support Group.

Two other VWC Certificate of Honor recipients also received their awards: Harlean Nolan and Maria Hopkins

If you know of any spouse whose veteran served in the military between 1955 and 1975 and died after returning from service and want to receive the Vietnam War Commemoration Certificate of Honor and Blue Star lapel pins please contact us at 865-336-2624 or leave us a message below.  A grateful nation wants to thank you.


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VA Primary Care Patient Information Booklet

June 14, 2017 Knoxville, Tennessee

The Mountain Home VAMC and all of their clinics now have a primary care patient information booklet available to all veterans.  The booklets are being distributed during the orientation for new veterans, however, very few current veterans were aware of the booklet until Freddie Owens discovered the booklet from his  Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) clerk.  A PACT team is a team-based model of care led by a primary care provider (PCP) who enables continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s health care needs or appropriately coordinating care with other qualified professional, led by a PCP, works collaboratively with the patient to plan their overall health care.

The booklet is filled with valuable information including contact numbers.  We recommend to all veterans that they obtain this booklet.  The booklets are available at Mountain Home VAMC, Knoxville Outpatient Clinic, and Bristol/Campbell Co (LaFollette)/ Morristown/Norton/Rogersville/Sevierville Community Based Outpatient Clinics.

The booklet contains information about clinic appointments, Co-managed care,transportation, hospital services, non-VA emergency room visits and hospitalizations, patient rights and responsibilities, My HealteVet, Pharmacy, health information programs, pain management, suicide prevention, social work services, domiciliary, women’s clinic, eye clinic services, instructions for lab work, contact information and locations.

The VA has the booklets available NOW!  So please go to the VA and retrieve yours!  Or you can click here to view and/or download.the current version.  The contact information is updated by the VA as necessary so some of the numbers may have changed.  To eliminate outdated information, the VA is creating a booklet link.

Thanks to the support of KOPC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Sexton, the orientation workbook will be posted on the MHVAHCS website in the near future.  We’ll let you know when the post is available.

Click here to download the important contact numbers.  In the meantime, please make sure you get yours and make sure you tell other veterans.

VA Expands Transparency, Accountability Efforts

VA News Release
07/07/2017 12:00 PM EDT

VA Expands Transparency, Accountability Efforts: Becomes First Agency to Post Information on Adverse Employee Actions, Requires Senior Official Sign-off on all Settlement Actions above $5,000

VA Expands Transparency, Accountability Efforts
Becomes First Agency to Post Information on Adverse Employee Actions, Requires Senior Official Sign-off on All Settlement Actions Above $5,000

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking a further step on transparency and accountability as a follow-on to the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act signed by the president less than two weeks ago.  Beginning today, the department is making public a list of adverse employee actions taken since Jan. 20. This information is posted at, and will be updated weekly.

Secretary Shulkin pointed to the move as another step in long-sought transparency and accountability actions at VA, and noted that VA is the first federal agency to make such data public. “Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government,” Shulkin said. “Together with the Accountability bill the president signed into law recently, this additional step will continue to shine a light on the actions we’re taking to reform the culture at VA.

“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” he continued. “Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that.”
For privacy reasons, the adverse action list will not include employee names, but will give information on the position, VA region or administration and type of adverse or disciplinary action taken.

The list includes terminations, demotions and suspensions over 14 days since the new administration came into office Jan. 20. Additional categories of accountability actions will be included in upcoming releases.

In addition to posting the adverse action information, Secretary Shulkin announced that he is requiring approval by a senior official of any monetary settlement with an employee over the amount of $5,000. Any settlement above this amount will require the personal approval of the Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary or equivalent senior-level official within the organization in which the dispute occurs.

“Taxpayers need to know that we will engage in good faith settlement negotiations, where required by third parties, but will look to settle with employees only when they clearly have been wronged or when settlement is otherwise in Veterans’ and taxpayers’ best interests, and not as a matter of ordinary business,” Secretary Shulkin said. “We’re changing to a culture of accountability at VA, and this is an important step in that direction.”

Joint Operation on July 19th

We wanted to let you know about an exciting opportunity exclusively for Tennessee veterans. Joint Operation is an event to provide veterans and their families with a ‘one-stop shop’ to connect with local resources and get the help they need.  This free event is open to all Tennessee veterans and their families and will feature more than 70 agencies and organizations with information on a number of resources, including: VA claim assistance, vocational rehabilitation, education, employment, mental health, housing, legal assistance, Veterans Courts, expungement, Veteran Specific QPR Suicide Prevention and much more.  Click here to view the flyer.

It will take place on Wednesday, July 19th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park. Directions can be found at

Joint Operation is being organized with the help of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. We appreciate all of their support.

The Council and Vet to Vet Tennessee is one of the 70 organization featured at the event.  This is the second event provided by Senators Alexander and Corker.  Freddie and I attended the first event in July 2011 when the Council and Vet to Vet Tennessee we just forming and we were seeking help to keep our group (LPG) together.

We’ll need volunteers for our booth.  If you have any time available please let me know.  Please contact our office at 865-336-2624 if you have any questions or need any further information.