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By Annette Coats
I’m a widow of a disabled Marine who served in Vietnam. Both Dave and I had lived in the “Biggest Little City” back in the early 90s. As a retired attorney from Florida, I returned to the Silver State in October of 2016. This brought me closer to my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren as my daughter lives in the Salt Lake City area and my son lives in the Sacramento area.
A friend connected me to the volunteer opportunities that come with being a Nevada Veterans Advocate (NVA). I had been doing pro bono work as an attorney in Florida when my friend in Reno gave me a newspaper clipping that mentioned the NVA course. She knew of my interest in doing some sort of volunteer work in Nevada. So once I was back in Reno, the timing was perfect.
Last year, I completed the course and became a certified NVA. The course consists of 20 modules providing answers to the common questions presented by veterans and their families. Upon completing the course, I received an email from Cathy Yates, Outreach Director for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS). She was seeking volunteers to help in the Reno NDVS office and I gladly volunteered helping the staff with various tasks at least once a week at the [Reno] Corporate Drive location.
Although I’ve only participated in a few outreach activities to date, I quickly learned there are many Nevada Heroes who are unaware of the support programs offered by communities and nonprofit organizations, as well as state and federal agencies, to those who have served in the military.
Governor Brian Sandoval has stated many times his mission is to make Nevada the friendliest state in the nation for veterans and military members. Becoming a certified NVA is one way you can help make that happen and then some! There is no cost for the Nevada Veterans Advocacy online course. You may sign up at https://nvapps.state.nv.us.
If you know of any outreach opportunities where NVAs may be available to answer questions and provide information to veterans and their families, please contact Cathy Yates at 775-321-4774 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.