OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee announced today the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded the Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This is WDVA’s fourth Pillars of Excellence Award since 2014.
The award recognizes outstanding state programs that support veterans within their states. This year’s award is for WDVA’s innovations in developing public-private partnerships to increase access to health care and other services for incarcerated and rural veterans.
“WDVA continues to be recognized nationally for what we already know in Washington, that we must provide support for our veterans who have sacrificed for our state and our country,” Inslee said. “WDVA is leading in finding ways to make sure that these brave men and women and their families have the resources they need, which benefits all our communities.”
In 2010, with authorization from the state Legislature, WDVA began developing a consortium of public-private partnerships to improve access to veterans’ services. Some examples include a unique public-private partnership with the WestCare Foundation to develop programs for veterans and their families at the Washington Soldiers Home, as well as the creation of a veterans service clinic, the Veterans Affairs Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot, re-entry support for incarcerated veterans at correctional facilities and the ability to renovate and provide permanent supportive housing for homeless women veterans.
WDVA has also partnered with Brigadoon Service Dogs and opened a therapeutic service dog training and care center at the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting. VetBikes, a nonprofit 501c3 has also partnered with the WDVA to provide restored bicycles at no cost to Veterans, to facilitate their path to wellness.
“Congratulations to each partner in Washington state who helped us earn this award, especially the WestCare Foundation," said WDVA director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos. "The strides our state has made in ensuring all veterans are connected to their earned benefits are possible only because of the work we do together.”
More information on the Pillars of Excellence Awards can be found here.