Veterans in the east discuss concerns with elected officials

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – As the number of concerns for veterans grow, one group here in the east held a meeting with government officials in an attempt to make a change.

Saturday at the American Legion Post in Beaufort County, veterans met with government officials and candidates to talk about the problems vets face every day including affordable housing, opioid addiction, healthcare, homelessness, and suicide.

“Let the veterans get what we need,” Post 263 Commander Jeffrey Egerton said. “We need more of the community and more of our politicians to support our veterans.”

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness among veterans has risen over 7 percent in the last year. The Mental Health VA says in 2021, the average number of veteran suicides per day was 17.5. Congressman Greg Murphy said the number has now increased to 22 and hopes to make a change as he is now on Veterans Affairs in Congress.

“I really want to make sure that we drill down and see where the VA is doing a good job and where the VA is failing our veterans,” Murphy said.

American Legion Auxiliary Policy and Legislation Chair Barbara Gaskins said events like these allow for veterans to be heard.

“What we have to understand is that we want our leaders to support us, and in order to do that, we have to bring our leaders, our leaders have to come to us,” Gaskins said.

However, for veterans, they believe actions speak louder than words.

“You know we go out and often times people say thank you for your service,” NC Senate District 3 Candidate Charles Dudley said. “But you know we would really rather have some good healthcare. We appreciate the comment but good healthcare.”