FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      CONTACT: Murray Press Office

Wednesday, July 1, 2015                                                                      (202) 224-2834


VETERANS: Murray: Walla Walla Veterans Home Result of Outstanding Community Partnerships, Persistence, and Dedication


Groundbreaking continues decades-long effort to support vets in Southeastern Washington

80-bed facility will serve veterans from 10 counties near Walla Walla



Senator Murray with local, state, and federal officials this morning breaking ground on the state veterans home.

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray joined local, state, and federal officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of the long-awaited Walla Walla Veterans Home. For more than a decade, Senator Murray has worked with veterans, community leaders, and local officials to support the large veterans community in Eastern Washington.  She has consistently pushed VA officials, including numerous VA Secretaries, to commit funding for the Walla Walla State Veterans Home project, and in 2014, secured $23 million in federal funding to help the project keep moving forward.

“After so many years, the reason why this long effort is finally coming to fruition is because you all believe the same thing I do –our veterans in Walla Walla deserve the care and support this home will offer – and we owed it to them to get this done,” said Senator Patty Murray. “It took an amazing level of coordinated effort to make today’s veterans home and the continued existence of this VA campus a reality… this is a community that has let their veterans know – we’ve got your back.”

“Your Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs could not be more excited to finally break ground on the Walla Walla State Veterans Home,” said Lourdes E. Alvarado-Ramos, WDVA Director. “This project showcases a federal-state partnership that is unprecedented in Washington State.  Now, thanks to the Federal VA, we have the opportunity to co-locate a long-term nursing care facility on the grounds of the Walla Walla VA Medical Center.”

Walla Walla VA’s Medical Center Director, Brian Westfield, states: “Our commitment is to honor President Abraham Lincoln’s immortalized words by ‘Honoring America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.’  The Walla Walla VA is proud to partner with our community and other agencies to collaboratively support Veterans and bring their care closer to their home.”

“This is another example of the ‘Walla Walla Way’ — you imagine what is possible and work hard to make it happen,” said Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “ I’m so grateful for the support this community provides to our Veterans. This new Veterans Home means more Veterans will receive the care they need here in Walla Walla.”


Also in attendance were VISN 20 Director Larry Carroll, Walla Walla Mayor Jerry Cummins, Walla Walla Veterans Task Force Representative Tim McCarty, Walla Walla VAMC Director Brian Westfield, Executive Director of the Port of Walla Walla James Kuntz, and tribal representatives.

Washington has state veterans homes in Spokane, Kitsap County and Pierce County, but the southeastern corner has yet to have a state veterans home. The new home is being built on the campus of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla and will serve 80 veterans at a time and create 100 local jobs.  Earlier this year, Senator Murray cut the ribbon at the new, 67,000 sq. ft., VA Outpatient Clinic in Walla Walla.

Senator Murray’s full remarks as prepared are below:

“I am honored and truly excited to be here today, after many years fighting for the Walla Walla State Veterans Home. After so many years, the reason why this long effort is finally coming to fruition is because you all believe the same thing I do – our veterans in Walla Walla deserve the care and support this home will offer, and we owed it to them to get this done.

“The celebration today would not have been possible without several dedicated individuals, who I am proud to call great partners and friends – Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, Director of the Washington state VA, Larry Caroll, Director of our VA regional health network, Tim McCarty of the Walla Walla Task Force, Mayor Jerry Cummins and the former Walla Walla City Manager Duane Cole, Members of the local advisory panel, the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, and the Nez Perce Tribe, who all played a critical role here. And a special welcome to guest Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

“There are countless individuals who contributed to the completion of this project who may not be mentioned-but should know their work has not gone unnoticed. And of course, the Walla Walla community is the strong foundation whose work we simply built upon to get where we are today, so I want to say to everyone here today – thank you.

“I am proud to stand here with you to celebrate the groundbreaking of a facility that will serve our veterans, and remind us what is possible with a lot of hard work and a little bit of stubbornness.

“It took an amazing level of coordinated effort to make today’s veterans home and the continued existence of this VA campus a reality – from veterans here in Walla Walla to local government, state government, and up to the federal government, and several Secretaries of Veterans Affairs.

“The story of this campus goes back to 2003 when it was put on a list for closure by the CARES Commission – and then just a year later, despite pleas to consider the devastating effect on the Walla Walla community – its closure was finalized.

“I probably heard from every single veteran in this part of the state about how important this facility is. So I took that message straight to President Bush.

“I let the President and everyone at every level of the VA know what this facility meant to this region, and how wrong it would be to leave veterans without services here in Southeast Washington. And all of you refused to back down. You wrote, you called, you attended committee hearings, and eventually, we proved to them that this place was more than worth keeping open – it was worth expanding.

“After VA Secretary Peake visited in 2008, he announced that after years of fighting for every dollar we needed to keep the doors open, he would authorize $70 million for the state of the art facility that opened last April.

“Together, we went from losing this entire facility and having vets drive to Spokane and Seattle for care, to having it taken off the closure list altogether. And after securing $23 million in federal funding last year and having the official land transfer to the state happen just 2 months ago, I am proud to stand alongside you here today in your victory to expand these facilities.

“And now, veterans from 10 counties with a combined population of more than 50,000 will benefit from this home. 80 veterans and surviving spouses will have a bed to sleep in, and skilled staff to care for them. This is a community that has let their veterans know – we’ve got your back.

“I want veterans in the Walla Walla community to know that I also have your back. As the daughter of a World War II veteran who struggled from multiple sclerosis, I understand how important it is to get support.

“And after sacrificing so much for their country, it’s the least we can do to ensure veterans are properly cared for by their community and their government.

“I consider one of the most important parts of my job to be listening to the people I represent in Washington state, and sharing your stories in DC. As a senior member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I vow to keep fighting the good fight to keep veterans in this facility taken care of, and veterans all across Washington state.

“I can’t say it enough – I am so thankful to have had such an outstanding group of dedicated people here in Walla Walla to work with all these years. It’s people like you who inspire me to keep doing my job the best I can–people like you who show us how we should be caring for each other and making our communities – and our country – a better place.

“Thank you.”


Leah Kennebeck

Deputy Press Secretary

Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray


HUD-VASH vouchers

On Friday, June 26, HUD published a set-aside notice for project-based HUD-VASH vouchers. This would be additional HUD-VASH vouchers, to be used in a setting where the HUD-VASH voucher is assigned to a rental unit and not an individual Veteran, allocated to your Public Housing Authority (PHA).  If one of your PHAs is planning to apply, they must be able to document support from the VA.

This is a competitive award process. Approximately $7 million in funding is available for this set-aside which will support roughly 1,000 units. Applications are due on August 28, 2015.  The full notice can be found here:

Working with Our Troops: Veterans’ & Spouses Career Expo Tickets, Seattle | Eventbrite

Click the link below to sign up!

Working with Our Troops: Veterans’ & Spouses Career Expo

WorkSource Seattle-King County, King County Veterans’ Program, and Washington State Convention Center

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (PDT)

Ticket Information

Working with Our Troops: Veterans’ & Spouses Career Expo Ended Free N/A

Event Details

This event is a partnership between the Washington State Convention Center, the King County Veterans’ Program, and WorkSource Seattle-King County.
We welcome Veterans and spouses to this event for Veterans seeking jobs or wanting to improve their job-seeking skills.
The event will include:
~ Dozens of Employers (see list below)
~ Optional 1-1 resume writing/review session tailored to Vets
~ A presentation for job seekers on presenting yourself in your best light
~ Complimentary beverages, coffee, and boxed lunches
~ Validated parking

Free Shuttle service to/from the Convention Center:
Kitsap County:
Buses depart at 8:30 for the WA State Convention Center and leave back for Kitsap at 1:30
Address: 1950 Mile Hill Drive, Port Orchard WA 98366

Pierce County:
First Bus departs at 9 and Second Bus departs at 9:30, and leave back for Tacoma at 1:30
Address: Tacoma Dome Parking Lot, 727 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98421

Snohomish County:
Bus departs at 8:30
Address: Smokey Point Naval Support Complex, 13900 45TH Ave NE, Marysville, WA 98271
100+ PARTICIPATING EMPLOYERS (subject to change):
Aerojet Rocketdyne
Allegiance Staffing
American Construction Company
Atech Logistics Inc.
Auto Warehouse Company
Bartelson Transportation
Berkshire Hathaway HS Northwest Real Estate
Boeing Company
Brandman University
Bonneville Power Administration
Carlile Transportation
CertainTeed Gypsum
Chameleon Technologies
Commercial Drivers School (CDS)
Community Health Plan of Washington
Coastal Transportation Inc.
Crowley Maritime Corporation
Cummins Northwest
DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport
Equity Residential
Exotic Metals Forming Company
Falcon Freight Services
Farmers Insurance
Fastenal Company
FedEx Ground
Fikes Products
First Command Financial Planning
First Student
Fisherman’s Finest Inc.
Foss Maritime Company
Gary Merlino Construction
Group Health Cooperative
Hanson Bros. Transfer and Storage Co.
Harris Rebar
HDR Engineering Inc.
Hexcel Corporation
Hoffman Construction Co.
Impel Neuropharma
Indemand Interpreting
Interstate Distributor Inc.
Kelly Services
King County
King County 2-1-1
King County Sheriff’s Office
Lee & Eastes Tank Lines Inc.
Macy’s Bellevue Square
Madden Industrial Craftsmen Inc.
McLendon Hardware Inc.
Oberto Brands
PCL Construction
Perkins Coie LLP
PetroCard Inc.
Pioneer Human Services
Plymouth Housing Group
Port of Seattle
Prince Telecom
Public Safety Testing
Puget Sound Blood Center
Puget Sound Energy
ResCare HomeCare
Resource Recycling Technologies
Ring and Pinion Service, Inc.
Riverstone Residential Group
Republic Parking NW
S&B Truck Service Inc.
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Seattle City Light
Seattle Goodwill
Seattle Parks & Municipal Court
Seattle Police Department
Securitas Security Service USA Inc.
Security Industry Specialists
Service Linen Supply
7-Eleven Inc.
Smart Talent
Sound Community Bank
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Student Conservation Association (SCA)
Tableau Software
Tacoma Police Department
Thrivent Financial
ThyssenKrupp Aerospace NA
Tradesmen International
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
US Customs & Border Protection
US Dept. of Veterans Affairs
US Foods
US General Services Administration
UW Medicine NW Hospital
University of Washington Physicians
Washington Health Care Authority
Washington River Protection Solutions
Washington State Convention Center
Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Washington State Dept. of Enterprise Services
Washington State Patrol
Werner Enterprises
World Vision
Yakima Police Department
WorkSource partners are equal opportunity employers and providers of employment and training services. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to people with disabilities.
Have questions about Working with Our Troops: Veterans’ & Spouses Career Expo? Contact WorkSource Seattle-King County, King County Veterans’ Program, and Washington State Convention Center

VFW Salutes New Agent Orange Decision

image003WASHINGTON (June 18, 2015) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United is saluting today’s decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin accepting disability claims from veterans potentially exposed to Agent Orange-contaminated aircraft in the post-Vietnam era. The decision by VA Secretary Bob McDonald could now benefit as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who might suffer from any of 14 presumptive medical conditions that have been determined to be related to Agent Orange exposure.
The VA secretary made the decision to expand benefits following a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. The report found evidence that those who served aboard or worked on the C-123 aircraft were exposed to the herbicide, both during and after Vietnam, when many of the aircraft remained in service for aeromedical transportation or in a mosquito abatement role back in the U.S.
“The VFW has been pushing for this decision for years,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “because something inside these aircraft was making people sick years after the plane last flew a defoliating mission in Vietnam. We thank the Institute of Medicine for determining a contributing link between exposure and the 14 medical conditions, and Secretary McDonald for making a quick call to care for more veterans.”
All airmen who were assigned to flight, ground or medical crew duties at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (the 906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadrons), at Massachusetts’s Westover AFB (the 731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron), or with the 758th Airlift Squadron in Pittsburgh, during the period 1969 to 1986, and who may have developed an Agent Orange-related disability, are encouraged to file a disability compensation claim through the VA’s eBenefits web portal (, or to seek the free and expert assistance of a national VFW Service Officer at

No One Does More For Veterans


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