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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Retired Air Force commander to lead work of connecting veterans to services in King County

Summary

Lt. Col. Dana Sawyers has counseled injured vets, and developed a Wounded Warrior project in the Republic of Georgia. She will lead the county's Regional Veterans Initiative.

Story

Lt. Col. Dana Sawyers has counseled injured vets, and developed a Wounded Warrior project in the Republic of Georgia

Dana Sawyers King County Regional Veterans InitiativeKing County Executive Dow Constantine named Lt. Colonel Dana Sawyers to lead his Regional Veterans Initiative, which seeks to connect military veterans to the education, job training, and other services they have earned.

“Our initiative has mapped the service system and brought providers together. Col. Sawyers is uniquely qualified to advance this work and ensure there is no wrong door for a vet seeking help,” said Executive Constantine. 

“The implementation plan lays the groundwork for true collaboration and quality services for the veterans in King County, and I am excited to be part of this ambitious and innovative plan,” said Lt. Col. Sawyers. “Serving our veterans is the core purpose of the initiative, and I am looking forward to being part of this important and purposeful work.” 

In the second year of the initiative launched by Executive Constantine in 2013, King County will host workshops to help unemployed veterans transition to new careers, and train service providers to better meet the specific needs of veterans. 

A comprehensive study conducted under the initiative last year mapped the full range of federal, state, and local services available to veterans. That study will be used to further train veterans and service providers through a series of “Be the Connect” workshops and other efforts in 2014 and 2015, including:

  • Workshops for homeless and housing services, information and referral, and outreach workers to address homelessness among veterans and improve access to housing and supportive services. 
  • Workshops for unemployed veterans to help them connect to education and training opportunities to build new careers in the community.
  • Improved connections to services and supports for veterans experiencing significant behavioral health difficulties arising from their military service.
  • Development of new technology solutions to simplify information and access to more than 175 programs across King County designed to serve veterans and their families.

“Dana combines a strategic perspective with a potent blend of military and civilian experience,” said Leo Flor, Equal Justice Works Fellow with the Northwest Justice Project and member of the special advisory panel convened by Executive Constantine to develop the Regional Veterans Initiative. “King County has consistently affirmed the value and potential of our veterans, and Dana is the right person to lead our initiative’s next steps to coordinate the many existing services that veterans have earned into a more effective and efficient system of support and empowerment that our veterans and communities deserve.” 

Lt. Col. Sawyers is a Northwest native, having grown up in Oregon before moving to Washington state in 1984. She is a 24-year member of the Air National Guard, with active duty assignments in the United States and abroad. 

Her most recent position was in the Republic of Georgia, having been selected by the U.S. Department of State to develop a Wounded Warrior project to serve veterans. In this role, she provided project management and coordination between agencies and medical centers to support the development of medical and rehabilitation services for wounded veterans and amputees, returning to the United States in 2013. 

Prior to that, Lt. Col. Sawyers served three years as National Guard Exercise Coordinator at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland where she was responsible for developing training plans and exercises that directly supported Iraq and Afghanistan deployments. Her military experience also includes serving as Detachment Commander of the Engineering and Installations Squadron at Paine Field, a 125-member squadron in Everett. She has also worked as a case manager and counselor for individuals with brain injuries. 

In service to her country, Lt. Col. Sawyers has been awarded multiple Meritorious Service Medals and Commendations, and also received the Georgian Ministry of Defense Foreign Service Award.

Funding to support the Regional Veterans Initiative is provided by the voter-approved Veterans and Human Services Levy, coordinated by the King County Department of Community and Human Services. 

For more information, contact Pat Lemus with the King County Department of Community and Human Services at 206-263-9020.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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