We caught up with Tina Carnes, general counsel to the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC), and spoke with her about the Commission’s work with veterans, her own commitment to servicemembers, and what’s next for TVC.
What kind of work does TVC do?
Texas Veterans Commission is an advocacy agency with more than 340 employees in over 75 cities around the state that help Texas veterans receive the benefits they so richly deserve.
The Texas Veterans Commission is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping veterans get the most benefits they are entitled to and the State of Texas leads the nation in monetary recovery of veterans’ compensation. Last year, approximately 2.1 billion was paid in compensation and pension benefits to Texas veterans and eligible surviving family members represented by the Texas Veterans Commission.
Texas also leads the nation in putting veterans to work. According to recent data provided by the Department of Labor, the Texas Veterans Commission assisted 47,556 veterans enter the workforce in a 12-month period, helping more veterans get jobs than any other state in the country.
The Texas Veterans Commission assists veterans in securing their educational benefits, such as the GI Bill and Hazelwood Exemption, by working with over 1,100 Texas schools and employers.
The Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance awards grants to veteran service organizations, charities, and local government agencies that provide direct assistant to veterans and their families. Since February 2010, the Fund has awarded over $6.7 million in grants.
What is the most rewarding part of your work with TVC?
I grew up in a military family. My father is a decorated, disabled Vietnam veteran. I remember the veterans of that war coming home and feeling as if the nation did not value the sacrifices they made. It is the commitment of the Texas Veterans Commission to ensure that each veteran in the State of Texas knows that his or her sacrifice is valued and was not made in vain.
What's on the horizon for the organization? Are there any new initiatives you're excited about?
The Texas Veterans Commission is excited about working with the State Bar of Texas on its Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans initiative. The Commission provides counselors at the legal clinics to assist veterans with VA claims. The Commission also provides claims counselors to assist Veterans Courts that give second chances to combat veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Texas Veterans Commission is also excited about reaching out to women veterans across the state of Texas and exploring new ways to combat homelessness among veterans.
For more information, please visit TVC's website.