Creating veteran-driven support for fellow veterans is a hallmark of multiple Upstate organizations, and Greenville Veterans for Veterans lives up to the challenge, focusing on working with the local Veterans Affairs clinic in Greenville to support Upstate veterans.
In 2014, a volunteer group of veterans who use the local clinic created the organization, which helps spread the word about VA services and meets regularly with the VA administration to collaborate, said Dan Gough, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam.
In the last few months, Greenville Veterans for Veterans hosted a Veterans Day art show at the clinic featuring work by more than 20 veterans ranging from sculpture to drawing.
“We are looking for ideas for future events to bring veterans to the clinic as sort of a friendly gathering place where they can meet other veterans,” he said.
Increasing physical access to the clinic was another recent achievement with the installation of automatic entrance doors, replacing a double set of swinging doors.
“We could see that for somebody in a wheelchair, it could be a safety hazard,” Gough said. “There is no longer a safety hazard for veterans who have ambulatory issues.”
A local organization purchased benches for disabled veterans to use while waiting outside the clinic and the group has helped get video monitors in the clinic’s waiting areas connected to television so patients have something to do while they wait, Gough said.
The group is investigating outfitting an unused outdoor patio with seating, improving the atmosphere of a clinic canteen and working with the clinic to get a grant for wireless Internet access for patients, he added.
Increasing veteran use of My HealtheVet online access for ordering medication, communicating with physicians and viewing records is another goal of the organization, said Gough.
Greenville Veterans for Veterans is not officially affiliated with the VA system, but rather aims to serve as a local, independent connection to the VA to help get veterans’ concerns addressed, said Gough. The group also has a non-VA-related suggestion box for veterans to use for other issues.
“We [Veterans for Veterans leadership] are all patients and use the Greenville clinic,” he said.