Greenville community members voice concerns at Ice cream social

Published 11:12 pm Thursday, June 29, 2023

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Local veterans and other members of the community enjoyed a bowl of specialty ice cream, as representatives from the senate and congress addressed their issues and concerns at a Q&A session held downtown Greenville at Alabama Grill on June 21. 

The visitors represented United States Senators Tommy Tubberville and Katie Britt, and Congressman Barry Moore.

Rural Workforce Coordinator Kathy Smyth, with Southeast Alabama Works, organized the event, which also hosted farmers, elected officials, economic developers, farmers, and community members at another venue. 

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According to Smyth, “The tour gives the community a chance to make their voices heard, collectively in Washington, DC.”

Melanie Hill, field representative for Senator Katie Britt said, “We just want to be available for our constituents, and help to meet needs as much as we can. This is a way we can have boots on the ground, engaging with the people we represent.”

Veterans in attendance were able to share and discuss issues with the representatives, specifically with the VA. President of the Butler County Veterans Association, Benard Rudolph spoke on behalf of the elderly veteran community. 

“A lot of veterans are not computer savvy, and miss out on benefits available to them, because they need assistance,” Rudolph said. 

Liza Berrey, member of the American Legion Post 24 seconded that notion, adding issues with travel pay and healthcare expenses. 

She said, “It can be confusing to access the information, therefore, a lot of people miss out.”

These issues were addressed by Dustin Retherford, Veterans Advocate for Congressman Barry Moore. He listened attentively to the concerns of the veterans and assured them he would follow up on their concerns. 

“It is my responsibility to continue raising awareness about the lack of care from the VA,” Retherford said. 

Representative Alex Reynolds encouraged those in attendance to contact them directly when issues arise. The representatives work from Dothan, but are the first line of contact for congressional needs.

Each representative presented business cards and contact information, and urged constituents to reach out at any time for questions and complaints.