VA, Facebook, and American Red Cross Donate Portal Video Devices to Vets and Their Families
The COVID-19 pandemic has truly made us appreciate the value of human interaction like never before. Without the ability to visit family members like we’re used to, video calling has seen a major spike as people look for ways to keep connected. Maybe the virtual happy hours aren’t nearly as crazy and the birthday songs always seem to be off key, but video calling is the next best thing to being physically present because at least you’re able to see your family’s facial expressions and reactions that you miss so much.
Times like these also tend to put things into perspective. While many of us are distraught over not being able to see our family and friends for weeks, this is a normal reality for active veterans. Not to mention, the coronavirus has added even more tension to their feelings of isolation and disconnect. In an effort to keep these men and women connected to their families during this crisis, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has partnered with Facebook to donate 7,400 Portal video calling devices to veterans and their families. The American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network has offered to store and ship the Portal devices in pairs to qualifying Veterans.
“Veterans, families and caregivers will benefit through an increased support system,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Our goal is for Veterans to feel less isolated through more communication. We believe this technology will help Veterans who might otherwise be unreachable.”
Veterans, caregivers, & families can reduce isolation at home by accessing Portal on Facebook devices. The @DeptVetAffairs, @Facebook, & @RedCross worked together to provide over 7,400 devices, while the @MilVetCaregiver will ship them to #Veterans. https://t.co/a3PkyXH9S1
— VA Partnerships (@VAPartnerships) April 15, 2020
This commendable partnership was initiated by the PREVENTS office, an Executive Order task force responsible for the development and implementation of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide. Those participating in REACH-VET, one of VA’s Caregiver Support Programs or in any of VA's Geriatric and Extended Care Services were qualified to receive a free Portal device.
In just one week, all 7,400 Portal devices were requested by veterans, but VA created a waiting list for those that missed out.