AUGUSTA — In honor of Veterans’ Week, the University of Maine at Augusta’s Office of Military and Veterans’ Services and the Maine State Forum will host a free panel discussion on Accessing VA Benefits: What you need to know from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at UMA’s Jewett Auditorium, Augusta campus, 46 University Drive.

The panel of VA benefits experts includes the following speakers:

• Jim Doherty is staff assistant to the center director at the VA Maine Healthcare System. Doherty acts as a liaison with veterans, veteran service organizations, congressional offices, community partners and the general public.

• Patrick Crowley is public affairs officer and change management agent for the Regional Office in Togus. The regional office processes disability compensation claims and assists veterans with vocational rehabilitation and employment services.

• LaRhonda Harris, R.N. is the Women Veterans Program manager, VA Maine HCS.

• Jim Christie is community outreach specialist for Maine and New Hampshire and a UMA alumnus. He educates and advocates for veterans and assists them in obtaining benefits.

• Joleen Lilley, LCSW, is the VA Maine Program manager of the Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn Post 911 Transition and Care Management Services Team. In this role, she additionally serves as the VA liaison to the Maine Army/Air National Guard, the Maine Vet Centers, and Department of Defense Transitional Care Team.

• Nancy Gillespie is the outreach specialist for the Lewiston Vet Center. An Army veteran herself, she is passionate about supporting other veterans. She holds regular hours in Lewiston, Augusta, Brunswick, and Rockland to answer vet center questions and referrals to both VA programs and community veteran opportunities.

• Amy Line is UMA’s director of Military and Veteran Services and a UMA Alumna. She is instrumental in helping veterans navigate their college experience from their first day right through graduation.

The panel will discuss benefits available for veterans including educational, medical and other services. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. Veterans, active military and their family members are encouraged to meet with the panelists after the event.

The Maine State Forum invites prominent Maine policymakers to speak at the University of Maine at Augusta on topics of interest to the Maine community. The forum is in its second year of bringing speakers, the UMA community, and the public together to meet and discuss topics in the news that affect the lives of Maine residents.

For more information, contact Amy Line at 621-3215 or [email protected].

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