Shinseki talks to veterans at Golden Age Games, reveals... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Shinseki talks to veterans at Golden Age Games, reveals professional goals

Eric Shinseki, U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Hawaii native Eric Shinseki, U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Hawaii native

By Steve Uyehara – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Hawaii native Eric Shinseki is back in the islands tackling the issue of homeless veterans with our local leaders.

Shinseki spent the morning talking to fellow veterans at the Golden Age Games.

Nine hundred of our country's heroes from across the nation are competing in everything from horseshoes to swimming.

"I know a good many of them. I'm about the age of some of them so it's pretty darned inspiring. I gotta think about getting off the couch too," Shinseki said.

On a serious note, he's also meeting with local officials to help homeless veterans.

"To link in with Mayor Carlisle, link in with the Governor and make sure we're being supportive," Shinseki said.

On a national level, there are 76,000 homeless veterans. They hope to whittle it down below 60,000 next June and completely end the problem by 2015.

To help with that, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs just announced they'll be merging their health record systems. It's something Secretary Shinseki and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decided to do two years ago.

"What that means is when a youngster serving in the military all of their records electronically will be set up in a way when they become veterans, all of that is transferable. And we avoid gaps in information," Shinseki said.

The general is also the highest-ranking Asian-American in the history of the U.S. military.

There have been numerous speculations about where his career may eventually lead.

"I made a commitment to President Obama. He asked me to do two things for him, help him to take better care of his veterans and he provided the resources to do that. The other thing he's asked me to do is find a way to transform the VA into a 21st century organization," Shinseki said. "I'm committed to that. It's what I'll be doing for the next couple years. I enjoy going to work every day and there's lots to be done. That's where I am."

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