Veterans Advisory Council includes U.P. veterans to assist Congressman Benishek

WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced the formation of his First Congressional District Veterans Advisory Council-a board of local veterans that will advise Dr. Benishek on issues and ideas regarding veterans in Northern Michigan.

“As a doctor at the VA for two decades, I’ve had the enormous privilege of working with our veterans throughout my career. I know the best way to serve our veterans is to hear their ideas and concerns and continue fighting for their issues. That’s why I formed this advisory council to be a resource for veterans and their families, and to learn their ideas on how to fix the problems our veterans face,” said Dr. Benishek, a surgeon who worked at the Iron Mountain VA hospital for 20 years.

The Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) is made up of 19 veteran volunteers from Michigan’s First District. This diverse group of veterans consists of former service members from every branch of the military and that have served in conflicts from Vietnam to the Iraq War. The members of the VAC were chosen by Dr. Benishek’s office as a representative sample of the exemplary veterans of Northern Michigan. The council includes leaders of local Veteran Service Organizations as well as younger veterans, all of whom have valuable experience and insight to share. The VAC will hold meetings with Dr. Benishek on a monthly basis.

“Northern Michigan is lucky to be home to so many extraordinary vets. By holding regular meetings and calls with our advisory council members, my staff and I will be able to hear directly from a diverse group of veterans on the issues that matter most to them,” added Dr. Benishek.

Dr. Benishek is Michigan’s only member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and serves as the committee’s Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health. Military veterans comprise 14.4 percent of the population of Michigan’s First Congressional District.

“I feel it’s an honor and privilege to serve my fellow veterans. It is America’s responsibility not to forget that they served for us, and it’s our turn to serve them!” said Robert “Andy” Becker of Crystal Falls.

“The Congressman has a great record of working with veterans and I look forward to furthering that in any way I can. I am especially looking forward to working with Native Veterans as a former Tribal Chairman, and father of two Native Veterans I hope that I can be of some assistance,” said Curtis Chambers of Cheboygan.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity to participate in Congressman Benishek’s Veterans Advisory Council, and I am looking forward to hearing the ideas of other veterans and working with them to develop solutions,” stated Frank Lombard of Marquette.

“It is my desire to see that all Active Duty, Retired, and Honorably Discharged members of the United States Military are in receipt of the promises made, promises implied to them for their sacrifices in the defense of our great nation,” said L.G. “Kelly” Kellogg of White Pine.

“I think this will be a great opportunity to raise awareness for the need of a National Cemetery in the Upper Peninsula,” stated Samuel Parr of Iron Mountain.

“I feel very honored being asked to work with Congressman Benishek M.D.’s advisory council. I have had the pleasure of working with Denise in the Congressman’s office and have had very good results and attention. I work with veterans as a county veteran’s service officer every week and am proud to be their advocate and do my best to assist them any way that I can. I am hoping that this council will be a challenge for me to assist in getting better communication for our veterans with Washington and possibly shorten the red tape associated with a claim made with the VA. As I stated I am looking forward to this venture,” said Art Winter of Greenbush.

Members of Dr. Benishek’s Veterans Advisory Committee include:

Jim Alton
Harbor Springs

Andy Becker
Crystal Falls

Marie Brunswick
Crystal Falls

Curtis Chambers

Paul Gaudette
Traverse City

Dave Goudreau

Sid Hausding

Lewis Kellogg
White Pine

Erin Lentz

Frank Lombard

Brad Nelson
Iron Mountain

Sam Parr
Iron Mountain

Ralph Pruder
Indian River

Jacob Shields
Iron Mountain

Dave Spencer
Sault Sainte Marie

Jim Stringham

Roy Thomas

Charlie Webster
Traverse City

Art Winter