National VFW Officers Visit GDVS Field Operations

February 7, 2018

In an effort to see first-hand the Georgia Department of Veterans Service’s effectiveness and efficiency in filing veterans’ disability claims by GDVS field offices, Veterans of Foreign War’s (VFW) National Veterans Service Director Ryan Gallucci and Special Assistant for Quality Assurance Chris Macinkowicz spent three days in Georgia during the last week in January.

Their visit is the first time national VFW leadership has visited state VA facilities and GDVS field offices. Gallucci and Macinkowicz came to Georgia to get a better understanding of GDVS structure and current high profile veteran program initiatives.

Georgia is one of the few states nationwide where veteran benefits officers report to the state, as opposed to working at a county or city level.

“We all have the same goal, and that is to take care of veterans,” GDVS Commissioner Mike Roby pointed out. “We were honored that the VFW was so interested in learning about how Georgia is accomplishing this mission that Ryan and Chris actually took the time to come and find out themselves.”

After spending a half day with Joel Willis, manager of the downtown Atlanta GDVS field office and VFW Department of Georgia State Service Officer, Gallucci and Macinkowicz received an overview of GDVS operations from Commissioner Roby and his senior staff. The briefing was followed by visits to the Conyers and Griffin Field Service Offices.

GDVS Office Managers Horace Campbell (Conyers) and Rob Johnson (Griffin) offered a firsthand view of their daily operations. The next day, Gallucci and Macinkowicz visited spent a half day visiting with the GDVS Appeals Division staff, based inside the Atlanta VA Regional Office and a walk through of the Atlanta VA Medical Center, facilities located side by side on Clairmont Road in Decatur.

It was during those two day field visits that both national VFW officials realized why according to the Atlanta VARO Director Al Bocchicchio nearly 70 percent of the VA disability claims processed by the local Regional Office are from the GDVS. Those VA claims rated resulted in over 2.5 billion tax free dollars awarded to Georgia veterans or their families. 

Following these visits, GDVS Commissioner Roby, his senior staff, and senior leaders from the VFW Department of Georgia met again with Gallucci and Macinkowicz at the GDVS Central Office for briefings on programs and policies by the Women Veterans Program Office and the Veterans Training and Development Division.

“We’ve learned lot of best practices that we can bring back and apply to our own workforce at county and state levels in other states,” said Gallucci.

“The VFW Department of Georgia works hard to maintain a solid relationship and cooperative environment with both our national and state level partners,” said Georgia VFW Department Commander Richard Attaway. “For national representatives to come see how Georgia takes care of its veterans and their families, and walk away with best practices to use elsewhere; well, that speaks volumes for the competency of GDVS training and assistance programs.”

The GDVS serves the more than 700,000 veterans and their families residing in Georgia in all matters pertaining to veteran (federal and state) benefits. This mission is accomplished with the assistance and support of congressionally charter national Veteran Service Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.A.

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For more information on the content of this news release, please contact the GDVS Public Information Division at 404-656-5933 or gavetsvc@vs.state.ga.us.