Lawmakers Meet ‘Big Family’ of Vets Home Staff

Group Toured Tilton Facility Last Week with Chapter 11 Members

Lawmakers met with members of Chapter 11 on Thursday, Jan. 9 at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton.

Lawmakers met with members of Chapter 11 on Thursday, Jan. 9 at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton.

A group of lawmakers got a close-up view of the inner workings of the New Hampshire Veterans Home during a tour with Chapter 11 members last week.

Legislators who accepted an invitation to tour the facility included Sen. Jeannie Forrester, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, Rep. David Huot and Rep. Ian Raymond. Michelle McDermott, the chapter president at the Veterans Home, said workers there wanted to show the legislators what they do and why they love doing it.

“We toured the entire facility and along the way, we introduced them to staff members,” said McDermott, who led the tour along with chapter Secretary Dayle Auger and Brian Hawkins and Jean Chellis from the SEA. “The lawmakers got to hear the ongoing theme from the staff, that we’re a big family here.”

She said staff members were happy that lawmakers were interested in stopping to talk with them.

“They were happy that the lawmakers wanted to hear their concerns,” McDermott said. “All the staff members were happy to share what we do here and how proud we are.”

McDermott said the visit wasn’t all smiles, though.

“Our guests got to sit in on part of a staff meeting on the nursing unit, and staff voiced their concerns about a staffing shortage due to budget cuts,” McDermott said. “Some of them were in tears because the cuts left them unable to do their jobs they way they feel they should.”

McDermott said it was an opportunity for lawmakers to see the implications of budget cuts on a facility like the Veterans Home.

“We spent a good two hours with the lawmakers, introducing them to staff members and they got an in-depth look at exactly what we do here,” she said. “I think the next time they hear ‘New Hampshire Veterans Home,’ they can think ‘yeah, I’ve been there.’ It puts faces to the budget numbers they see, and that’s a good thing.”

The tour preceded the first chapter meeting since a new slate of chapter leaders was elected.

Editor’s Note: Connecting with lawmakers is an important way that SEA members help advocate for the people they serve and to improve quality public services. Contact your SEA chapter leader or field representative to learn how to do this in your workplace.

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