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10 years ago today, MVAA began serving veteran families
March 20, 2023
Today, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) celebrates 10 years of serving veteran families and working alongside its partner organizations to connect Michigan’s former service members to their earned benefits in health care, education, employment and other quality of life areas.
The MVAA started operations on March 20, 2013, two months after being signed into existence by executive order as the central coordinating agency for the state’s 550,000-plus veterans, Michigan National Guard members and Reservists.
In the decade since, the MVAA has handled more than 150,000 cases for veterans through its 1-800-MICH-VET call center, distributed millions of dollars in emergency aid and connected countless veterans to benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations. See our Top 10 list of accomplishments at michigan.gov/MVAA.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state Legislature have shown their commitment to Michigan’s veteran families by removing barriers to professional success, creating veteran-friendly initiatives and investing heavily in veteran suicide prevention efforts.
“More than a half million men and women in Michigan have served in the armed forces selflessly and deserve unfettered access to quality education and training opportunities, good-paying jobs and affordable health care and mental health services,” Whitmer said. “The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has a decade of experience in connecting our veterans to these benefits and resources. With my administration’s full backing, the agency will continue providing this critical support and expand efforts to reach and serve more veteran families in Michigan.”
MVAA Director Adam Hollier said the agency is aggressively addressing the factors that can lead to veteran suicide, as well as supporting veteran spouses and dependents and partnering with other veteran-centric organizations to broaden services.
“When we talk about serving veterans, we’re talking about supporting veterans in all facets of their lives. We’re talking about serving veterans’ spouses and their children. The MVAA is committed to supporting our veteran families every step of the way,” Hollier said. “Our former service members served and sacrificed for their country and deserve these benefits. It’s not a handout and it’s not a hand up. It’s simply getting the benefits and resources they earned for their service.”
The MVAA is housed within the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
“At the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, we are guided by one fundamental promise: that those who are serving or have honorably served our state and nation are members for life,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the DMVA. “The MVAA has demonstrated that commitment over the last 10 years in their service to and advocacy for veterans. With more transitioning service members relocating to Michigan, it is vital that the MVAA continues to connect these veterans and their families to the state and federal benefits they need to thrive.”
John Griffith is chair of the Michigan Commanders Group, which represents Veteran Service Organizations, and also commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Michigan.
"Over the years, we have seen many service organizations unite under the cause of veteran advocacy,” Griffith said. “The partnership between the VFW, Commanders Group and MVAA has become instrumental in reaching and impacting the lives of veterans and their families across Michigan. The MVAA's 10-year anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on how many lives have been changed due to dedication and shared mission of connecting veterans with their earned benefits and community service. Serving those who served us is an honor, and I am proud to have such a strong partnership within Michigan to lead as an example across the nation."
Andrea Norton, an Air Force veteran who works for the Saginaw VA Medical Center’s Suicide Prevention Team, has collaborated with the MVAA for years. Norton was one of the women veterans featured in the MVAA’s She is A Veteran outreach campaign, which has resonated with thousands of former service members across Michigan.
“I am probably MVAA’s biggest cheerleader, so much so that people sometimes think I work for them,” Norton said. “But we all need to cheer each other on and break down agency silos. I have developed impactful relationships with numerous colleagues at MVAA, and through these relationships and having a dedicated community engagement role, we have all been able to work collaboratively to strengthen the work we all do to support veterans. No one agency can nor should do it alone; we all have a role to play. Each VA hospital has its own multi-county catchment area, but MVAA covers the entire state. With a statewide reach and the 1-800-MICH-VET resource hotline, it makes sense that MVAA would be a connector for anyone working in the veteran advocacy space.”