Our nation is so full of support for our Service members it is difficult to illustrate all the organizations and individuals trying to do their part to support our veterans. Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls this a “Sea of Goodwill” of American support. He notes, “The challenge…is how do you connect that sea of goodwill to the need?” - Major John W. Copeland and Colonel David W. Sutherland,
Sea of Goodwill: Matching the Donor to the Need
One of the biggest issues we run into nationally and locally when working with Veterans is that they don't know what is available and where to access help. There is no resource in place to give the Veteran a "Full Operational Picture" of area resources.
Empower the individual Veteran or the person trying to help.
We need to figure out what is available. With Alabama Veteran we are working on gathering up the information in a simple manner and getting it in the hands of Veterans. Clear and simple solutions, no barriers. Accessible information from the Veteran perspective.
We know Veterans have the know-how and training to get things done, but a large part of the equation that is missing is an access point for available information. A trusted agent to catalog and curate.
As mentioned above, there is a "Sea of Goodwill". Tons of organizations providing resources and services to Veterans, so where do we start? How can we break this information down and get it to Veterans.
Well, you go after the big fish first. In most States the 2 largest organizations in the Veterans Service space are the National Department of Veterans Affairs and the State's Veterans Affairs Department. While there is info out there about these organizations it is just not delivered in an accessible manner. So, those are our original “targets", the VA facilities in Alabama and Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs (ADVA) Veteran Service Offices.
Current Publicly Available Location Tools
New Tools created by Alabama Veteran
Statewide VA facilities Location Tool
The VA mainly handles physical and mental health resources for Veterans. They are the main healthcare provider in the Veterans service space.
Above you can see all of the VA facilities in the State. VA Medical Centers, Outpatient Clinics, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, Vet Centers and a few Benefits Administration locations. Each location pin has the contact information, location and website associated with the facility.
This map tool can be accessed easily on the Veterans’ phone or computer and give them directions and information on where they need to go. This way, no matter where the Veteran is they know what is available, how to communicate with the resource and where it is.
Take it for a test ride and let us know what you think.
ADVA Veteran Service Offices Location Tool
Second, we wanted to get a handle on the ADVA County level Service Offices. These offices were designed to be a location at the local level where Veterans can access assistance. The representatives at the offices can provide basic guidance on benefits and they are one of the many resources in the State that can help a Veteran with a VA Disability Claim.
However, because of State budgeting and cutbacks over the years the ADVA has been stretched thin. They are unable to provide personnel at all locations each day, so offices are often closed or have limited hours. The best thing about this resource is that Veterans are not limited to using the office in their County, they can use any office.
Again, the information about ADVA office locations and the hours of operation were not easily accessible. So, to simplify the process we gathered up all the important information in placed it in one simple access point. Above you can access information on all the County level offices in the State, when they are open, contact information for office staff and physical location.