AUGUSTA — The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services (MBVS) received the 2019 Abraham Lincoln Pillar of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Feb. 26 for its work to end veteran homelessness. It is the bureau’s second consecutive Pillar of Excellence Award, having been recognized previously for its veteran suicide prevention efforts in 2018.

Since 2011, the VA has recognized its state partners for programs and initiatives that support veterans in their respective states. This year’s Pillar of Excellence Award was presented to MBVS Acting Director David A. Richmond by NASDVA President Alfie Alvarado-Ramos and VA Undersecretary Randy Reeves, standing in for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie at the 2019 National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) Mid-Winter Conference in Alexandria, Virginia.

All 50 states are represented as members of NASDVA as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Maine was one of six states to receive a Pillar of Excellence Award this year.

MBVS Acting Director Richmond said, regarding the significance of the recognition, “It is truly an honor for the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services to receive this award. However, there are many other partner organizations in Maine that we work with every day on this important mission; this award is a direct reflection of their efforts as well. The bureau strives to support Maine’s most vulnerable veteran population and their families with professional support, compassion and respect. Our homeless veterans coordinator, Jarad Greeley, who is also a U.S. Army veteran, serves as a conduit between MBVS, Maine’s homeless veterans, and our partner organizations. He works tirelessly to remove the barriers to veterans securing stable housing and support.

“The bureau has forged great partnerships with the Maine Homeless Veteran Action Committee; the Homeless Team at VA Togus; Easter Seals; Preble Street; Veterans Inc.; Volunteers of America Northern New England; Maine Elks; Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope; Bread of Life Ministries; United Veterans of Maine Inc.; American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Gary Owens House; and other shelters, agencies and caseworkers around the state. Our shared goal is to end veteran homelessness in Maine, one veteran at a time.”

Anyone who knows a homeless veteran who needs assistance should contact Jarad Greeley at 207-430-6036 (office), 207-699-7186 (cell), or email [email protected] There are also resources available on the bureau’s website at https://www.maine.gov/veterans/benefits/housing/homeless-veterans-services.html.

For more information on the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services or to contact the local veterans’ service office, visit http://maine.gov/veterans/ or call 207-430-6035.

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