MARQUETTE — The Michigan Veterans Affair Agency made a stop in Marquette today to receive some feedback right from some veterans.

This is the first annual open house that the Michigan Veterans Affair Agency decided to hold. The Grand Rapids Veterans facility has recently seen various problematic situations, such as equipment failure and patient complaints. Despite the Grand Rapids location of the veterans facility facing some serious challenges, the Marquette location has set a high standard for veteran care throughout the state.

“The staff here, both private employees, public employees, our volunteers, families of our residents and the leadership we have here, they are stars. They are as good as you can get and I am so honored to work for them” said Michigan Veterans Affair Agency, Director James Redford.

In the past couple of years, the Grand Rapids facility is seeing some major improvements. One of these focusing on the response rate to any complaints the residents had.

“The reports would typically get done but not as rapidly as we would like so we immediately put in a situation where any allegations or reports would be responded to and acknowledged within 24 hours” Redford continued.

One of the main goals for the MVAA is to create similar guidelines between both facilities to focus on modernizing the Grand Rapids location. With the original building being built soon after the Civil War, there are some modern features the facility was lacking. A greater variety in recreation along with updated TV’s is just part of it, but also learning how to better understand newer veterans from World War two and even recently, from Afghanistan. The MVAA held the open house earlier today to receive feedback from the Veterans and find new ways to keep improving their services.

“If we gave you the golden keys and you could write and build it anyway you wanted to, how would that look? How could you work as a staff member and what would we give you to support you so you can be successful with supporting veterans? And as a member, how could we improve your life and improve the experiences you have living in a longterm veterans home?” said MVAA Director of Strategic Communication, Suzanne Thelen.

At the open house, various categories were laid and any passing veteran was allowed to give their opinion on the topic. For some families of veterans, the open house was a great opportunity for them to give honest feedback.

“Having both my parents are Grandfather being veterans, I think an open house like this is very beneficial because it gives them a voice. There’s a lot of veterans in the area that don’t ever get an experience like this” said Jacobetti Veterans Home Volunteer, Chantel Lablonde.

Members of the MVAA will be heading back down to Grand Rapids to hold a similar open house for more veterans.