For Immediate Release                                                                                   
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253

VETERANS ADMINSTRATION’S “HELP A VET” PHONE BANK, HOSTED BY WXXI AND 13 WHAM-TV, WAS A RECORD SUCCESS

Rochester, New York (July 21, 2010) – WXXI's partnership with the Veterans Administration (VA) and 13WHAM-TV set a one-day record for registering veterans for VA services yesterday. The “Help a Vet” one-day phone bank, held at WXXI’s studios in Rochester, took 957 calls and registered 873 veterans for benefits and services they have earned. The day-long effort eclipsed the former record of 467 registrations held in Syracuse in March 2010. More than 30 volunteers and staff from the VA answered calls from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The “Help a Vet” project was started after the VA discovered that many veterans were unaware that they needed to register before accessing services, which includes counseling, medical and dental benefits. The VA has hosted several “Help a Vet” outreach events around the country, but WXXI and 13 WHAM-TV set a new standard for future events, and will be used as a model for outreach efforts in other cities.

Veterans can still register for benefits by calling 1-888-823-9656.

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