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Ramping up for Veterans

Among the legacies the late Van G. Miller passed on to the associates of the company he founded was to give back to those less fortunate. He carried with him an especially soft spot for U.S. military veterans, of which he was one. A former U.S. Army medic, Van knew full well the kind of pain, suffering, and obstacles injured veterans face when they return home.

VGM Insurance Services employees and more than a few of their VGM family members from VGM Education and VGM Management continued to honor their founder’s legacy by assisting the Black Hawk County Veteran Affairs Commission, based in VGM’s hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, in the commission’s efforts to raise funds for the construction of ramps to allow disabled veterans access to their own homes.

“We install ramps for veterans and/or their widows who can’t afford a ramp or cannot get them through the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iowa City,” said county Veteran Affairs director Kevin Dill in an interview with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier earlier this year.

Once discharged from a care or rehab facility, veterans need access to their homes immediately, explained Dill. If vets lack the funds or their requests for a ramp get tied up at the VA, that’s when the county VA Commission steps up.

“Kevin stepped in because he has some (vets) who couldn’t go home until they had a ramp,” Rick Reuter, a Vietnam vet and home builder, told the Courier. “He contacted us and said ‘We’ll take care of the material if you guys do the labor.’ But, now there’s a lack of funds.”

That’s when the teams from VGM Insurance, Education, and Management stepped up. Together the groups organized fund-raising events, giving fellow VGM employees the opportunity to donate toward the Black Hawk County VA Commission’s Ramps for Veterans campaign. VGM Insurance’s philanthropy group later presented the commission a check for more than $4,000.

“Vets are often a forgotten group in our community,” said Sandy Rodriguez of VGM Insurance, “and that should change.”

Sandy and nearly a dozen of her VGM Insurance co-workers took things a step further by rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help build a ramp for a local disabled vet.

Emily Currier called the work a “heartwarming experience” that reminds her why she loves working for VGM. “I’m very proud to belong to such a generous organization, constantly making a real difference in their community.”

Every day VGM employees give thanks to the brave, and along with our company and community, we have been able to contribute to the amazing things the Black Hawk County Veteran Affairs Commission continues to do. And, should you ever find yourself at Lincoln Park in downtown Waterloo over the lunch hour on a summer’s Thursday, you’ll find several VGM Insurance employees serving free food to local veterans at “Vets in the Park.”

To watch a video about VGM Insurance’s efforts to help their local vets, click here.

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