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Texas Veterans Commission helps vets navigate through bureaucracy

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One agency is helping vets navigating through a gigantic bureaucracy in order to receive what they are entitled to.

That's the philight for thousands of Texas veterans. And that is the ultimate mission of the Texas Veterans Commission's Annual Vets Summit that took place earlier this week at the Long Center.

It looks like your normal "run of the mill" job fair but it's so much more. All of this is a way to help vets re-start their civilian life after being well taken care of in the military world.

This summit and expo is to calm that fear with 150 vendors, banks, universities, legal aide, employment and claims reps that offer seminars from criminal justice issues to housing opportunities.

"We're trying to reach as many vets in Austin with as many resources in one place because Vet's don't have a lot of time. It's hard to contact the hundreds and thousands of organizations across the state one at a time," said Cheri Smith of Texas Veterans Commission.

Over the two day event more than 750 vets signed up to participate and many simply walked in like Andy Turner.

"There's so much help that I wasn't aware of...and that's the biggest problem in the military is you get out and you don't know what's been put in place to help...you know there's benefits but you don't have a clue on how to get them," Turner said.

Just one example of the help here is Myhealth Vet, a federal organization to let vets get a handle on all their health benefits in a way that's simple and makes sense by being able to track and organize everything health-related on a single personal web page.

"If we can get them to be active and proactive and looking at their healthcare...you get a better treated patient...and that's what we want," said MyHealth Vet Coordinator Larry McDonald.

Vets face a challenge most civilians never experience changing worlds, from the military to the civilian. And what looks like an industry trade show is a method to do that.

The Texas Veterans Commission says there are 1.7 million vets in the state. About 35-thousand come every year and that could go up by 5,000 per year over the next five years.

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