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Marietta Daily Journal
Dublin VA announces second Fall Festival
By Special Photo: Greg SwarsFrom staff reports,
DUBLIN – The Carl Vinson VA Medical Center here has set the date for its second annual Fall Festival for Oct. 14, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on its front lawn. The event is open to the public and will include a variety of entertainment events for children and adults as well as food, information and services for veterans.
Veterans will be able to receive flu and COVID vaccines, health screenings, Whole Health assessments, and many other services as well as information about programs and services the VA offers. Veterans Benefits Administration staff will be available to accept claims for benefits related to the new PACT Act legislation. Event coordinator and Center for Development and Civic Engagement Chief Keith Griffin emphasized that the festival is a community event.
“We don’t want this to be seen as a VA event but as a community event," Griffin said. "We’ll have vendors and partners from the community here to share info about their services. We really want to highlight the collaborative aspect of this. We serve veterans in 49 counties in middle and south Georgia, so we want everyone to come out. Anyone who would like to participate can reach out to me."
Festivities such as a carnival for children, a petting zoo, music, and a car and bike show will be part of the event.
“We want everyone to come out and see what we do to care for our veterans, including the kids," Griffin said. "If we want to inspire patriotism in our children, they need to meet those who have served and those who serve them."
Communications director Frank Jordan noted that the 2022 Fall Festival was one of the best attended in the Dublin VA’s history.
“It was truly inspiring to see so many of our community friends come in to see what we do," Jordan said. "Our goal is to make it bigger and better each year and draw from all over the state. The more people who learn about VA and what it offers, the more likely we are to reach our veterans so that they know about our programs and services. We don’t want them missing out on any of the benefits that they deserve."
Jordan also encouraged people to follow the medical center’s Facebook page at “Dublin VA Medical Center” for the latest info on events and services.
“It’s the quickest way for us to get the word out on the latest and greatest," he said. "We hope folks will follow us and share with others. You never know when you’re giving a veteran the information they need to change their lives."
One of the 2022 festival’s most popular events was its car show. The 2023 version of the car and bike show will include automobile, motorcycle, and off-road categories with awards for the first three finishers.
Dublin VA medical center director Manuel Davila expressed his hope that everyone would stop by to join the fun and educate themselves about services available to veterans.
“We consider events like these as central to what we do. Community outreach is one of our top priorities since we want to reach all veterans in our service area to make sure they’re cared for," Davila said. "And we especially want them to get signed up for PACT Act benefits. We hope everyone will stop by and meet us."
VA also will recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the festival with a 5K walk and butterfly release. That event also will include testimonials from survivors along with information about breast cancer awareness. Anyone wanting more information on these events can contact VA social worker Marla Roche at Marla.Roche@va.gov. Participation will be open to all festival attendees.
Those interested participating as a vendor or to reserve an information booth can contact Griffin at Keith.Griffin@va.gov or call (478) 272-1210, extension 72439. Anyone who would like to compete in the car and bike show can contact Michael Catoe at Michael.Catoe@va.gov.