A pair of Quad Cities veterans advocates are taking the lead as the new co-chairs of the Quad Cities Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB), a military advisory committee formed six years ago by UnityPoint Health-Trinity.
Shane Kern, a Navy veteran and vocational rehabilitation specialist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Davenport, and Sherri Behr DeVrieze, the mother of a Special Forces veteran and longtime UnityPoint Health-Trinity employee, were selected to co-chair the CVEB board. Mr. Kern and Ms. Behr DeVrieze replaced the outgoing co-chairs Daniel Joiner and Major General (retired) Yves Fontaine.
Founded in 2016, the CVEB’s goal is to support veterans and their families so that no veteran falls through the cracks.
Mr. Kern is a long-time CVEB member and was instrumental in the success of the Quad Cities Veterans Experience Action Center event in 2019. His passion for veterans and his community runs deep, volunteering much of his free time to organizations such as Remember the Fallen, Byron Hills Fore Heroes, Fosters Voice and Honor Flight of the Quad Cities.
“It is an honor to be considered for such a position,” he said. “We look forward to continuing the high standards that MG Fontaine and Daniel have set for all of us to uphold. I look forward to working with the CVEB team and the veterans of the Quad Cities area.”
Ms. Behr DeVrieze has served in various roles for UnityPoint Health-Trinity for 13 years including in marketing and communications, community outreach, events development, project management and currently as the community health and military program coordinator.
She previously served as the first female police officer for the City of Bettendorf and as a private investigator. She also brings 12 years of experience serving military members and veterans through fundraising and events development.
“As we celebrate six years of the collaborative this month and look to the next six years, I want to thank the committee members for their work,” Ms. Behr DeVrieze said. “The strength of the committee is its people and the expertise each brings to the table.”
The CVEB’s objectives include service provider training, resource development, education and awareness, and engagement. In 2018, it earned the CVEB designation from the VA due to the collaborative work being done in the Quad Cities related to serving veterans.
“We are sincerely grateful for the continued dedication of the compassionate individuals who make up the team,” Ms. Behr DeVrieze said, adding that their predecessors helped “guide us through all of those years with a constant focus on our mission to serve veterans.”
Mr. Joiner recently was chosen to be the new chief diversity officer for UnityPoint Health system in Des Moines. MG Fontaine, of Fontaine Consulting, will remain a member of the CVEB.
Under their leadership, the collaboration has grown to more than 40 members, curated a resource guide, created a three-year strategic plan, worked with the VA to clarify processes for inter-facility patient transfers, and hosted the first-in-the-region Veterans Experience Action Center event, which served more than 600 veterans.
For more information about the work of the CVEB, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.