A former Morenci resident and Legionnaire was recently appointed to a national position with the American Legion.
James Topps, a member of Hannan-Colvin Post 180 in Hudson, will serve on the National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission. He currently serves as Department of Michigan Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Director.
As a member of the commission, Topps will advise the national commander and the national executive committee on issues involving America's veterans and their families, including earned benefits. He will also advise on legislative priorities and serve as a liaison with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The American Legion is the nation’s leading advocate for proper health care, economic opportunity and legal benefits for U.S. military veterans and qualified family members. One of the marquee programs under the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission is the System Worth Saving Task Force, which conducts site visits and interviews at VA health-care facilities across the nation to learn first-hand the issues faced by veterans, their families, healthcare providers and facility administrators.
The information is compiled into an annual report for Congress, VA and the White House. The commission also staffs offices in Washington to provide free representation before the board of Veterans Appeals for veterans whose claims have been denied at the regional-office level.
Topps will work with other commission members to reverse the VA’s backlog of undecided claims; improve the quality of health care for female veterans; enhance treatment for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); eliminate priority groups within the VA system; obtain better access to health care for veterans in rural areas; increase volunteering in VA facilities; and ensure adequate federal funding for VA health care.